What are your triggers?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I have been struggling recently (getting a bit better day by day!) with some wistful feelings about what might have been with my difficult child... One of the things that seems to trigger these feelings is all the Back to School ads, store displays and Facebook postings that I've been seeing.

    Back to School was always a happy and hopeful time here. She loved school and - even as her difficult child-dom emerged - seemed always hopeful about a clean slate.

    My niece, who does not have a difficult child but whose son came out to the family as a juinior in high school - is triggered terrbily by the mother-son dance at weddings. She ocmpletely accepts her son and is the most loving mom in th world, but that dance floods her with what she thought might lie ahead for her son. She actually leaves the room during this part of the ceremny.

    The song "baby girl" by Sugarland gets to me. daughter got the cd right the summer before her junior year and we would sing along with it on our way to and from soccer practrice. it was the last summer of innocence.

    I love my difficult child and have worked very hard at accepting/detaching. But, being human, I have my moments.

    What are your triggers?

  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Most of mine are not necessarily related to my difficult children... Hearing a raised voice does throw my blood pressure into the stratosphere, though. Especially female.

    I have well-up-with tears triggers to songs, mostly. "Love, Me" by Collin Raye, "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler and "Austin" by Blake Shelton really make me cry...
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    While Nichole was still very much unstable I made the very grave mistake to sit down and watch family movies of when the kids were small. With Nichole I have them from the time she was born. Seeing her as she was when she was young.........it undid me. Not that she didn't have her moments back then, but it was the attitude about life in general that was different. And also.......Aubrey. Which was bad because with Aubrey they lived here the first years after she was born. Aubrey is a carbon copy of her mother (who is a carbon copy of me).....to the point where everyone often slips and calls Aubrey Nichole. But Aubrey would do something that would trigger a memory, and wham! I did a lot of biting my lip.

    The movies were a big undoer for Travis too. Back then I had so many hopes for the future. And I look at his very young ones and chastise myself for not trying harder to convince docs of what was going on for him to be diagnosed much sooner. But then I remind myself of all the many specialists we saw over the years and cut myself a break.

    Nichole is stable and doing well. Travis is Travis and acceptance has come and it really IS ok. I can't imagine him any other way than the way he is, and honestly I'm not so sure I want him to change. While his disabilities prevented him from reaching some of the high hopes I had for him, well I like him just the way he is, he turned out to be a rather awesome person regardless.

    Katie.......I don't know where to start. So much lost potential there. It hits me every time I see or talk to her kids. Her life was so vastly different from the life she forces them to live that I just want to beat the snot out of her or shake her until her brain rattles.

    I don't look at home movies anymore. I may never look at them again. Walking Darrin to his class on the first day of school made me nostalgic and I had some eye watering going on in the car. I miss those years. I miss being a stay at home mom. I miss the fun I used to have with my kids despite the difficult child issues. While I did my best to savor every moment of it, it still went by much much too fast.
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Some of my triggers are related to other parents celebrating their child's successes. Graduation, going off to college, marriage, babies. I didn't get to attend any graduation ceremonies (unless you count Youngest's preschool graduation). No college. Oldest had a wedding, but I helped her plan it with dread, knowing it was a mistake. The marriage lasted six months. Youngest had two unplanned pregnancies with two different abusive men. No "normal" milestones for my children.

    That being said, those things don't bother me quite as much as they used to. Nowadays it's more of a twinge of regret and loss, vs. crying at the loss. Acceptance is slowly settling in.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Any of the loving father-daughter songs get to me, because I didn't have that growing up, and, though I had hopes, neither did Miss KT. Her father is a jerk, and Hubby and I got married when she was 8; her resentment kicked in very soon after, and she refused to let him be a dad to her.
  6. rukiddingme

    rukiddingme New Member

    My son was in the USMC. His greatest gift to me was Patriatism. Very ashamed to say that I wasn't before I became a Marine mom. He was other than honorably discharged after being in a year. The Star Spangled Banner Does it for me!!
  7. AHF

    AHF Member

    Seeing anyone's kids under the age of 14, with their energy and their optimism. "I had one of those too!" I want to say, and I feel as if he's died and I cannot stop mourning.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I know exactly what you mean! My kids are now 30 and 35. I wanted kids for so long before I actually had them, and they're five years apart so I was in that "mommy mode" for a very long time. And then they start growing up on you and you are less and less responsible for every aspect of their lives, but it's a hard habit to shake. And while I adore the adults they've grown up to be, it's hard to connect them to my two little guys that I fed and burped and changed! Sometimes I feel like that old hyper-vigilent mommy from years ago, like they slipped away from me somehow, like those two little blond curly haired toddlers are still out there somewhere and I've lost them! And then I see my beautiful little blond two year old grandson with his huge blue eyes and the mischevious grin on his face and I realize that we've kind of come full circle.

    I don't really talk about my kids on here much. My oldest, my daughter, was the one that put me through the wringer when she was younger. She was the one I worried about, the one who hit bottom over and over again. Very complicated situation. How I wish this board had been around when she was younger. It would have been an absolute Godsend to me then. It wasn't from anything I did but somehow she matured and pulled her life together all by herself. It wasn't easy but she did it. She graduated from nursing school, she's very happily married to a wonderful man (a police officer), she's a great mom to their two year old son, has a very responsible job and they own a lovely home.

    My son was always the one who seemed to be on a more even keel, the less volatile one, the one I didn't worry about as much. Some of you who have been around a while will remember this ... six years ago he married a girl he was absolutely crazy about (I was a little less thrilled about her than he was!) Three weeks after they married she took off with another man. He made a very serious suicide attempt and spent six days in the hospital on life support. He recovered but his self esteem took a big hit and I think now he feels that he has nothing to offer. He's dated occasionally but has never had another serious relationship since his marriage ended - "Once bitten, twice shy". He spends most of his time at work or working on cars with his friends. He would make such a wonderful husband and father and I know that's what he really wants. He's a "daddy figure" to all his friends' kids and he loves it. He's thirty now, thirty-one in October. He may find a great girl someday and have a family of his own but I just don't know. My triggers now, the things that make me feel bad for him ... this is such a small town, and every week in the paper I see where another one of his school friends has gotten married or had another baby. Almost all of them have their own families now and it makes me so sad that he doesn't.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    rukiddingme....you and I have something in common! My middle son was a Marine too and I still have the sticker on the back of my car that say Proud Parent of a US Marine and Marine Mom. He has been out since 2007! I happen to live in a town that is about 5 hours from Parris Island and I see so many people stopping here on the way back from picking up their kids from boot camp. You can always tell. Their cars are covered in shoe polish with sayings about Semper Fi and other things about the Marines. I just smile and congratulate them. Brings back such fond memories.

    I also missed most of the milestones. The only graduation I got with Cory was his head start graduation. I had such memories flooding me when I went to Keyana's pre-k graduation that I just about cried. Im praying that isnt her only graduation...lol.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Oh Janet, just wait till her kindergarten graduation! I still remember both of my kids' first graduations! When my daughter graduated, the kids sang "The Rainbow Connection" from the Muppets movie. The teachers had taken a tape of the song and tried to turn down Kermit's voice while still keeping the music up louder. But you could still hear Kermit a bit in the background singing along with the kids - it was sooooo cute! Five years later my son graduated from kindergarten and his class too sang "The Rainbow Connection"! And just like at his sisters graduation, you could hear Kermit in the background - " ...the lovers, the dreamers and meeeeee!" And now every time I hear that song I can still see all those little ones, all dressed up, singing their hearts out! And I'm probably the only grown woman around who gets all teary-eyed when they hear Kermit the Frog singing "The Rainbow Connection"!
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Blurry eyed:

    Graduation time is near

    It's the best time of the year

    Many things we learned to do

    And here's our graduation just for YOU!

    Janet, your post popped that right into my head. That was the poem Travis and his classmates said at his pre-school graduation. He practiced it non stop for weeks. Odd how it stuck in my head clear as a bell.


    I got to see all 3 difficult child's graduate. Of all things it was my honor student easy child's who's graduation I missed thanks to a darn car accident on the way to the school. That still hurts.
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Other people's kids hitting milestones that mine missed or will likely never have.

    My nephew being so much like me in all the ways that I wanted my kids to be like me (and they aren't). I work hard at my relationship with him because it would be so easy to avoid him and all the 'should have beens'.

    Many books, movies, tv shows. Ugh, this thread is triggering me!!!
  13. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I work in the library where I live so I am constantly seeing people who trigger me- my daughter's former teachers or parents of other kids her age or even the "kids" themselves. As soon as I see someone who I know is going to come up and ask how she is my stomach starts flip flopping. It's terrible because with the teachers (especially from grade school) they remember Kat as so happy and full of promise. And with the parents or kids they are living through normal stuff like college, starting to think about a career, possibly getting serious with a potential mate. Nope, not mine- she hasn't even finished a semester at college and can barely hold a job, has a nearly 2-year-old and lives at my house with NO personal belongings since her awesome ex won't return anything. And her "baby daddy" is court ordered not to see KK. Yes, awesome accomplishments I want to share! It literally tightens up every muscle in my neck when I see these people, who of course are trying to be nice by inquiring about Kat! Wow! That didn't set off a rant at all!
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Not nearly as much anymore, but sometimes I've had moments where I see a mother and teen or young adult daughter doing "fun" "female" type things together and I feel pangs of sadness. Things like shopping for dresses for very special events (prom, bridesmaid gown, etc).

    Milestones can be a double whammy. She tends to miss these and I feel a sense of loss not only for her, but in all that tends to go with these things...like the celebrations/pride and joy shared with family.

    It's been a weird/complicated personal struggle, journey and choice...but by and large, I do not concern myself about these things much at all anymore.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Lying about me is my trigger. I can handle it when people call me on stupid or mean or dumb or bad things that I have done, and I have my share just like anyone else. Lying about me makes me go ballistic. Especially where the kids are involved.
  16. Bean

    Bean Member

    Mine are similar to others. Seeing other moms and daughters doing mom and daughter stuff together. Gives me a little knot in the pit of my stomach. I have a friend whose daughter is one year younger, and she's studying abroad. The mom is choked up about it, and worried and some days I just want to smack her and be like, That is NOTHING, honey. Be glad for what your daughter is doing.

    Seeing pictures of the girls my daughter used to hang out with. Gosh, and to think I thought that circle was bad. In comparison - not really. LOL. But I see them and feel sad.

    Strangely the other day I saw some hair things and thought of my daughter. Strangely the smoke/alcohol/perfume combo makes me think of my daughter. Sometimes it is like there is a pre-Trauma Time Capsule that has a stuck memory of a movie, a feeling, that comes back to me, like it is now.
  17. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I can SO relate to this. I get together with my sisters and nieces for dinner the last Tuesday of each month. It's always a great time, but a little triggery at times. I had to get up and excuse myself to the restroom last spring when my niece was lamenting the fact that her daughter turned down a boy (and hurt his feelings) for prom because she wanted to go with a group of girls. REALLY????? This is problem? My difficult child has chased boys relentlessly all her life - she NEVEr went to a dance without boy-of-the-week. I remind myself that they've never visisted Planet difficult child and they don't mean to be insensitive , but stilll....

    I know about this, too. I have a love/hate relationship with my Time Capsule.

    Many hugs to all who shared. Thank you.
  18. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I have been almost entirely "over" my experience with my difficult child nephew for some time now. I only sporadically come here, for instance, to read posts. Not that I lack compassion for the parents here, but it has taken me a year or so to get past my time with difficult child. So last week I was on vacation with my easy child son in L.A. and we were walked through the street mall on 3rd Street in Santa Monica. It was a lovely experience until suddenly I heard a woman shouting and turned and saw a mother angrily and frustratedly dressing down a 15ish daughter in full difficult child regalia--piercings, hippie/druggie outfit, etc--who was firing back at full bore, every inch the difficult child. The mother ended up in tears, and the daughter haughtily leapt to her feet and moved in for the verbal kill, shouting and raging and all of that, very nearly assaulting her mother. And it brought me right back into those memories. The old rage reared up in me and it was all I could do not to intercede, to face off with the girl and let her have it (verbally) with both barrels, to demand that she respect or at least not accost her mother in public like this, to clean up her !@#$ act and stop behaving like a churl, etc etc. My son, who had seen a bellyful of difficult child nephew (his first cousin) in spring of last year, was similarly provoked. I suppose I will always react to this sort of thing when I sporadically see it: rage at the punk difficult child and the desire to intercede in behalf of the parent. The memories are there, lurking, waiting for the trigger. This is why I can NEVER be in the presence of my difficult child nephew again. It's just too provocative and disturbing. If I ever see a male difficult child violently accosting a parent again, I honestly don't know what I'll do, but it won't be pretty. Goodbye to all that. It just throws all my old switches.
  19. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    "Mine are similar to others. Seeing other moms and daughters doing mom and daughter stuff together. Gives me a little knot in the pit of my stomach."

    Have you seen the movie The Sweet Hereafter? Captures this perfectly. The father of a chronic, full-bore difficult child daughter happens to be seated on a flight next to one of his daughter's childhood friends, now a successful young attorney. They talk, and the young woman casually asks about the man's daughter, and the man has to admit that his daughter has never gotten better, that she's still in the trough that she was in in her teens. The young woman's suppressed, polite shock--can it still be like that, after all these years?--and the father's embarrassment at having to report it to a woman that he remembers as one of his daughter's childhood friends, now a success. The man's pain and embarrassment and sad resignation (Ian Holm in a great performance) are palpable. A powerful, lacerating scene. And a must-see movie for all parents of difficult children, I think.

    Lasted edited by : Aug 24, 2011
  20. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I suppose in regards to difficult child, hearing other parents brag about their child's successes in school or how they won scholarships to colleges, or have been at the same job since they were 15, etc., those kinds of things...yeah, those can trigger me into feeling regrets about difficult child and my role in her upbringing and maybe if I had done this or that differently, she could have ....

    Lately I've been triggering all over the place in regards to mother in law looking down her nose at me and daughters (and then being suspcious that H is doing the same). This just brings back childhood feelings of never being quite 'good enough' for some people. Sometimes I still get these shocking memories that make me think our family was extremely dysfunctional and a little cracker trasherish.

    It is what it is. I try not to focus on that **** and instead remain in the present.

    I remember that my difficult child is not on drugs or an alcoholic, has a clean license and isn't in jail, she's actually a joy to be around most of the time, and she has a nice boyfriend. I wish she'd get a job and keep it for more than a couple of months at a time, but I try not to let that trigger my own feelings or disappointment (in me as a parent).

    And I remember that I worked (still do!) really hard at getting where I am today - I've come a long way in the past 30 years! I'm a strong person and I've got a lot of therapy under my belt to prove that I can accomplish anything, no matter where I came from. And my family may have been dysfunctional growing up, but there was a lot of love, laughter and good times in our family home.