They don't get what they put us through....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, May 4, 2016.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So I have been thinking about this a bit. In my conversation with my son yesterday I was getting upset.... And I said to him you have put me through H***....and he kind of laughed and said you have no idea what h*** is. And to some extent he is right... In that he has been both in jail and on the streets and I am sure those were awful for him.

    But he really has no concept of what it is like to love a child who struggles like he does. The heartache it brings.

    And then I get this threat that we will end up with no relationship. So he knows I want a relationship with him and so thinks he can push my buttons by threatening not to have one!!

    So I was thinking about it today...... And the hardest thing about him cutting off contact would be not knowing if he was ok. If I knew he was alive and doing well I could live with no contact. It would sadden me of course but my main thing is I want him to be successful and happy. That is what is important to me.

    He called me vindictive yesterday.... Which is so far from the truth. I just don't feel that way towards him at all. I am not saying I have never felt that way to anyone but I don't feel that way to him. I just don't.

    I think it is really hard to understand the feelings a good parent has towards their kids until you are a parent.

  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I really think you are looking at the whole picture too much rather than taking one day at a time.

    Sometimes our D_C's say things to hurt us and don't really mean it but are mad because we're not doing what they want us to do, they are trying to manipulate us.

    I remember telling my son during sober times in between the madness how much he hurt me, how nervous he made me, how physically sick he made me, etc. and he said "I don't mean to". I thought that was just a crazy response but I now understand that he really didn't MEAN to. We have always been very close and he is my youngest so I thought surely if he knew how deeply he was hurting me he would just STOP. Well he didn't.

    I am still on the journey but when I think back to all the sleepless nights, cold sores, running to the bathroom, fights with my husband, STRESS, breaking out in a cold sweat, not enjoying anything in my life that is good and now see that it didn't do him or me a damned bit of good, I try to protect myself from all of that now. It is just complete madness I know. It's like you cannot believe the vortex you are in because you are in the vortex with them. It's hard to pull out of it but if you focus on yourself and the good things in your life every day you can do it little by little.

    There are so many knowledgeable people on here that have helped me with all of this and better understand the "big picture". It's hard when you are in the middle of it. The best thing we did, and something you really can't do until they are at least 18, is have him not in our home any longer. I feel so much peace now and I sometimes feel guilty but I have not lived my own life for 5 years and now I am trying to just be happy.
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  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Totally agree. They have no idea what we go through when they are living their lives in a destructive way. It rips our heart out. He is right though, he is going through h*ll inside. He doesn't want to be this way and yet he can't stop. I tried to understand this when my daughter was at her worst and living in a heroin addicts basement, drinking/using pot 24/7. When she finally got out of that situation she told me it was awful. I asked why she just didn't stop and she said she couldn't, she knew how but she couldn't, she had too many demons in her telling her to keep going. She said that when she drank and smoked she felt good and when she didn't drink/smoke she felt awful, she couldn't live with herself unless she was numb. I don;t know if it's the same for your son but I suspect he likes being numb and not thinking about how cr*ppy his life is. It's hard for us to understand because we don't have those same demons. He sees your actions as vindictive because you won't help him to continue numbing the pain. You see it as saving his life.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, yes and no. Drug addicts and personality disordered adult kids dont get it because they are so self absorbed. I doubt a drug addict can even feel normal love for his own kid.

    Normal, typical adult kids do know how much we love them. At least, I have had both experiences. There is no one size fits all.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I do know that what he was saying yesterday was manipulative and just trying to get what he wants. I also know he has been through a lot, probably more than I can imagine. And I know that at times he feels bad about what he has put us through, but I think he thinks about the financial cost rather than the emotional cost for us. I also know that he knows we love him.... But I just don't think he understands the nature of our love for him. For that matter I don't think my daughter really understands it either..... And I am not sure I did until I became a parent. I just think the love you feel for a child is very different than the love you feel for others.

    And yes Nancy he has many demons and often just wants to numb the pain. I am not sure at this point that he is using. Yesterday he was upset because he was trying to buy a coffee at Starbucks.

    RN I have been going through this for a very long time...10 plus years. I am no longer totally obsessed with it or even think about it all the time. I did that believe me....but his comments yesterday did get me thinking. Mostly thinking about how would I handle it if we became totally estranged like my dad and brother were. What he doesn't really understand is that I realized today that if that happened I could live with main concern is not that we have contact but that he is ok.
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  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    When my son was still using, he made similar kinds of threats and accusations. He was blaming and baiting and shockingly cruel in the words he said, in the concepts he expressed, in the things he believed about how he came to be where he was in his life.

    I am sorry this is happening to you and to your son.

    I believe there will not be a permanent estrangement between you. The dialog you describe is an honest one. That is why I think there will not be a permanent estrangement. However they receive our words, our children do hear us. When they are able to begin reclaiming their lives, our honesty about ourselves and about them gives them a place to plant their feet and remember who they are. It helped me very much to hear this: It is the situation that is bad. Not us. Not our kids.

    What I can tell you that is sad is that, as the years pass and the missing child is never there, that absence gets to be the norm. Those times when they were not there, or those times we did not talk at all for a time (even when they are living in our houses), cannot be recovered. That time is gone. The good things, the warmth that might have happened, did not happen.

    Nothing happened.

    It comes not to hurt as much, that they are missing. Soon enough, it doesn't feel so much like they are missing as it comes to feel like they aren't there. There is a difference between those two concepts that breaks my heart. Our expectations have changed. We have learned to expect that we will accept what comes, instead of to anticipate the good things that are coming. And then, whatever happens, we pick up what's left and go on. And it isn't that we don't think of the one missing. It's just that we accept that they aren't there.

    When the child is ready to come back, there have been so many changes. Our lives have been lived separately, or as enemies, even.

    So, a kind of estrangement does happen, but it is not intentional.

    We are (I think we are) rebuilding those feelings of anticipation with our son, now. It would not surprise me if we lost him again ~ if he turned angry and ugly.

    But this time, I would know I was going to survive it.

    That is a sadness, too.

  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son is doing this too. A variation. He said yesterday more than once:

    Why do you use every opportunity you can to torment me?

    I have learned this James Bond like reflexive verbal rapid fire response that I spit out with laser like precision.

    I will not tolerate you making this about me. Putting on me in any way responsibility for your bad choices and unwillingness to take responsibility for them.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Cedar what you wrote is so true and it saddens me. My daughter, who wants nothing to do with my son, feels we kind of have 2 families, her and mom and dad and my son and mom and dad. My son has not lived here for 5 years and my hope still is that some day I can feel we can have a whole family. Truth is that may never happen. And yet I also can really enjoy the time with my daughter without him and in many ways we have our family and he is choosing not to really be a part of it. I think it is sad and sometimes it gets to me but it is what it is.

    And really I come here and express my sadness and frustration but I have also been happy this week. I am way past the point of this taking over my life. I have done that but I don't do that anymore.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    While I know, TL, that all of us resign ourselves for a future not as we hoped, I believe there is hope.

    My sister and I could never really have much of a relationship. We would go through the motions occasionally at holidays but that was all.

    I believe that is because my mother never did model the belief and commitment to a unified and loving family. She was a divide and conquer kind of gal. And then she would want us to love each other. When there was mistrust, suspicion and competition.

    While we as parents cannot make our kids like and enjoy each other we can commit ourselves to modeling unity and discouraging division. I do not know how that would look in your situation, but I believe that the more we hope and commit ourselves to positive change, the more possible it becomes.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    What you say Copa is true. But its complicated with my two... They were close when they were young but then all the stuff with my son, my daughter is just kind of done. And I realized that I have to respect where she is and let them work out their relationship or not. It certainly won't change until my son really gets his act together and shows it....

    And I got disappointed today. I know my son probably won't call on Mother's Day but I was counting on having some time with my daughter who is living about an hour away.... But today found out she has finished finals and is going away for the weekend with her girlfriends!! And I know that is a good thing really..... And I can't put all my disappointment with my son onto her..... She and I will get together sometime next week. But still I am disappointed... Glad I found out today so that by Sunday I am over it.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Some kids dont care of they cause two families. I have that with Bart. He has no interest in anyone but me, ex and his son. He has never even tried to have sibling relationships with the others. Junior only knows me and ex. It is his choice.

    I see my main/core family as husband, sonic, jumper, her boyfriend, princess, her SO, buddha baby and Sonic. Thats the close group that love one another and get together on holidays.

    The other part is mine alone and I dont see them much due to distance although there is constant, almost daily phone contact. There is Bart and Junior. They are a seperate pair. None of Barts siblings miss him. He was not nice to Princess and barely knows Jumper. He took a real shine to Sonic but he never calls or sees him anymore. Bart is phobic about driving even around St. Louis so he wont drive to Chicago where others can see him and the ignored ones have no interest in driving to see him in St. Louis. I heard Jumper tell her boyfriend, matter of factly, "I have two brothers I dont ever see or care about (Goneboy and Bart.) She means it. It doesnt upset her. She us going to be 20 and they are going to be 39. She never really knew them and neither tried to know her.

    Unlike some, I am content with my core family...hubby, Sonic, Jumper and SO, princess and family...thay warm my heart. Bart is a bonus to me on the side with Junior, but he is not a part of core family.Goneboy? Stopped caring long ago. Not a part at all.

    I love when core family are all together. Its almost orgasmic (I know...gross). But I feel so warm and cozy when we are all together.

    Anyhow, I am fine with things as they are. I do love Bart and Junior tons but accept his staying apart without feeling sorrow. It is truly his loss, but he doesnt see it that way and his perception of his life matters, not mine of his. He truly is fine apart and with Junior apart. I respect his choice. It is not my decision. ;)
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I truly understand this, especially this minute because there is another thread (Walrus) dealing with when is enough, enough and is it OK. More or less that is the theme.

    And I really support her as having had enough. Because there is a time when the relationship is mainly hurt. And when you are dealing with adults, and we are--there is no excuse for that.

    We are all on the same page I think. We just differ on what to do. So I really support your daughter in her decision to no longer have any part of it. And I really get that your son needs to clean up his act. It is really on him.

    So I am not sure why I am repeating everything you are saying but it has to do with I do not want to give up the fantasy that everything can be OK someday. Perhaps it is my grief about how everything turned out in my family. But I really hold onto the idea that there can be coming together even after real ugliness and hurt.

    Maybe what it is is a principle, understanding that while each child and parent is an individual, and has a right to think of and preserve self, that there is an ideal too, that we can learn to put into practice.

    I come from a family that over a couple of generations lost all family. The families that up until 100 years ago were 12 to 14 kids, unified, loving. Even though I write about the human condition as being to separate, I hold in my heart the desire for a loving and supportive family.

    How very sad. I think about this and grieve it all the time.

    TL you are such a fighter. You hold your kids so close in your heart. Your loyalty to each of them is so strong and your understanding of each of their needs realistic yet almost selfless. I so admire how you are doing this. How blessed are your kids. I really believe that in the end the model you have lived will triumph and what you seek, will come. I believe that.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    By the way, you never can discount hope. I was so angry at my sibs, so sure they were doing things to show their hate. This was my own misconception. I was so very wrong and dumb and off I love both to the moon.

    It can be hard when a parent seems to dislike us...and love them. But perhaps one day the other child sees that the sibling does not feel the same as the parent did or that the parent never felt that way in the first place. I am not going to disclose my situation other than to say sib relationships can change. In both directions.
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    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    There is always hope... But when in the midst of the drama (or lack thereof), they just don't see love.

    Bill's oldest bio son, the one who is not part of our family, though we tried... He just doesn't see how much his actions hurt Bill. I don't think he ever will.

    Belle couldn't see what she was doing to Bill - or to me. Yes, technically she is my "step"daughter, but let's be honest here, I think everyone who knows me, knows how I feel about her. Love trumps blood any day. We loved her, from afar for a while. We worried. She wouldn't speak to us, except to blame us for her bad choices or demand we enable her. We had to let her live on the streets. It didn't take long, for her; only about ten months between the time she left and the time she ended up in prison. And I thank the powers that be every day for that prison. You know why? Because she saw the harsh reality. A year behind razor wire brought clarity. She's still immature and makes stupid mistakes - but now, they're typical young-adult mistakes for the most part. And possibly best of all, she has acknowledged her past actions several times... always with the same phrase: "I don't know how you guys continued to love me, but that was how I made it through."

    Pat... We feel helpless where he is concerned, and it hurts that he is rejecting us. But... After Belle... It's very different, and not quite as hard to let go and push the baby out of the nest. Still painful.

    They DON'T know what they do. Some figure it out, some don't.
  15. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    I totally understand what you're saying and I agree. My son has no idea what he has put me through. His opinion is its his life and look what I'm doing to him. He doesn't understand that I can't enjoy my life at all due to worry over the terrible choices he makes and he blames me for all of his bad decisions. So many parents on here have accomplished detachment and taking care of themselves and give great advice. I've come a long way but I don't know if I will ever get to that place. I'm just about constantly overwhelmed with anxiety and worry that affects every aspect of my life. This hasn't even stopped while my son is in rehab and I know he is safe. I just can't stop worrying about the future. I'm trying though, I want peace.
  16. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    I feel the same way. Its as if my emotions are directly tied to his. If he has a good day and acts "normal" then I can enjoy my life and relax until he has a bad day. And my son says the same thing, that it is HIS life and that if I would just let him live it on his terms, then all would be fine. Unfortunately those terms mean smoking weed and dropping out of high school and thinking of no one but himself.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was that way once although my son was very young at the time. Embarassingly I read the journal his teacher had him write. He was only nine, but he wrote very advanced for his age. His group of friends was a bit like mean girls and when it was his turn to be targeted, and he was sad, I felt sick, like throwing up. I couldn't function. I did not talk to my son becsuse I wasnt supposed to know.
    He was NINE.
    This interfered with my happiness so much that i got help and learned to separate myself from my son. This therapy helped me as things got hard for my grown kids. Although I felt anguish and empathy i was always able to at least remember that my child was the one who had to work through it, that I could not. Therapy is useful. Please be good to yourself and get therapy. Nothing is more toxic and horrible for us than living through our children. And, although it is common, it feels so bad and it is possible to learn how to stop it. We dont help our kids by living through their own instability. We need in my opinion to be able to seperate so we can be strong...for them and for us.
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  18. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    OK I wrote another post about my situation....which is not good right now. So I am going to have to keep taking the advice I give you!!! There was a time when my own happiness was completely tied to what was happening with my son just like you describe.

    Even if right now I am upset and worried, that is no longer true. So what helped besides finding some good support both in this forum and through alanon?

    First it was coming to a decision that I was not going to let my son and his choices, no matter what happened, ruin my life. Two he is not living with us, I think it is so much harder to detach if they are living with you and you see their moods and what is going on day to day. Three.... Finding things in my life that interest me and make me happy and doing those things. I learned how to knit, I started playing a lot of bridge and through that met some new people... And we share an interest that has nothing to do with kids. Therapy helped... And working on my marriage so that we are in this together and neither one of us is alone.

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  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    TL, you are a strong and awesome lady.
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I remember making that decision, too. I mean, it did not just happen that I was able to stop living what was happening to my kids right along with them. Like SWOT posted somewhere in this thread, we need to recognize and then, work really hard to separate from the emotions.

    You know what?

    I think that is how I got to be a jack-of-all trades person. I know a little bit about alot of things, and have met some interesting types along the way.
    I am glad that happens for us. Everything about living the other way was just about killing me. The next time I need to distract myself, I will learn to play bridge like you, TL.

    I am thinking about learning to paint.

    We put so much of ourselves into being mothers that when the kids wander into rotten places and like them so much that they stay there and we cannot figure out why, we are destroyed. That is what I think happens to us. We keep trying to find the right thing that will put our families back together but there isn't one.

    That is why this is so hard for us.

    Creating new facets of self helped me put aside grieving for my life and my kids. Developing competence in whatever I was learning helped me refocus on my own life.

    But it was very hard, and I don't wish this on anyone. For all we know, we may have learned all these things anyway ~ but we may have learned them better.

    I am glad.