When are we assuming too much?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BackintheSaddle, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Hello All- I've been bothered by some posting over the weekend (and before) and wanted to be upfront about it because sometimes it makes me wonder if I'm in the right place...while I am so appreciative of the wisdom captured in the posts here and the experiences people share, I find that sometimes assumptions seem to be made about what someone needs to do in a given situation based on your own experiences that could be really different from theirs...the specific example is that someone posted over the weekend about a suicidal difficult child still in the hospital and what to do about getting her back into the psychiatric hospital after her attempt...some people responded from their own history of difficult children in their 30s and this person asking for help had a 20 yo daughter (a big difference in age and experience)...I found some of the responses to be ones that assumed that every difficult child is the same...as a trained psychologist, I know the importance of social histories and diagnoses...there actually is a need to start by separating out a difficult child who is abusing ETOH or drugs from one who is mentally ill (or both)...if they are 'only' mentally ill, I don't believe our responses should assume that they are all the same (though there are clearly patterns)-- same goes for difficult children who are only abusing, they are not all alike but certainly have common patterns of behavior...in this particular example, we knew nothing about this daughter's diagnosis, treatment history, or patterns of behavior and yet responses assumed that the way to go was to detach, not get involved in her treatment, not try and intervene...I would agree if we had information to indicate that this was one of many times in treatment and her leaving against medical advice, of her family trying to get her help and actually getting her admitted somewhere but unless I missed something, we knew nothing about her history (I reread the post and it's not there but maybe that member is better known to others than to me)...

    I've had experience in different phosps and they are each quite different...in those that are publically funded, they do tend to mix patients up and are often understaffed for their patient load so yes, they likely didn't have someone who was able to take the time to get to know her in the 2 days she was there or was able to serve (or want to) as a mediator...however, most private hospitals (which in this post it was not specified) would have been engaged in her care substantially given that she was admitted as a suicidal risk...and if she'd ever been in private counseling, that therapist or psychiatrist could be the one who mediates...it's not as though every psychiatric hospital is the same so we can assume that her experience is the same as ones we've had...it's also not that each situation is the same...interventions do work and they can work with just one or two strategic letters read to a patient by and from someone who means something to them...and this particular person is in a crisis so she may be more apt to listen to what people are saying to her...

    I am not trying to offend anyone just wanted to point out that sometimes it seems as though too many assumptions are possibly being made so that the advice handed to someone is more our own agenda of where we are in the process (or our memory of the agony we've lived through) rather than advice that speaks to where that person is in the process...do you see what I mean? Having a difficult child so close to being in treatment and then not working to support that person completely committing to it is exactly what we should be doing, in my humble opinion...that's not enabling, that's support and compassion...enabling would be allowing the difficult child to continue acting like she has and doing things for her (like let her come back home)...support is helping her get to a place where she can get the help she needs and holding a mirror up in hopes she'll see herself better...there actually is such a thing in mental illness as agnosia-- the inability to conceive that something is wrong with your way of thinking-- it's not denial...and it's common in many people with bipolar, schizophrenia, and other illnesses...so we shouldn't even assume that whoever we're trying to help can 'see' there's anything wrong...this is a link to the leading expert talking about it--

    I truly am posting this to ask if sometimes we should consider where the person is at in their journey compared to ourselves before we respond...another post that bothered me was from a supposed difficult child who wrote that she was feeling suicidal...none of us knew if it was genuine or not but I believe if someone is saying that, they need to be taken seriously and we should assume they mean it (did she have a plan for how she'd do it?...was she able to get to someone so she wasn't alone right then?)...instead some of the responses really let her have it about her behavior and seemed to assume she was being manipulative...that might be true but we don't know that and since to my knowledge, we haven't heard from her again, how do we know she didn't hurt herself?

    I know each and every reader of this has been through a lot of pain and suffering but while there are patterns in our experiences, I don't think we can assume that our journey is the same as others...we are all on similar yet separate journeys and our paths are likely quite different and though there are lessons to be taught from what is similar and how to recognize those patterns and take care of yourself through the pain of it all, I believe we should respect the differences in our circumstances and situations and our length of time on that journey before we respond to a cry for help...I just wanted to share this because it has been bothering me a lot and making me worry that we're not all keeping the receiver of our messages in mind when we post...
  2. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Although I do not hardly post anymore, you have a valid point. I joined the forum when my difficult child (youngest) was 14, he will be turning 30 this month. I am the only one, I believe, who chose to keep my difficult child at home while going thru his difficult child'ness. Guess I have a high tolerance for bs, but since I grew up as a difficult child myself, and had a myrad of diagnosis's that were undiagnosed until later in life, to me, I wouldn't even consider letting him go homeless, and take the chance he may not survive. And in saying that, yes, I did have him arrested at times, was a constant advocate in his health care, and dealt with the school until he reached the age of 18 at which time, if he got in trouble, arrested, he learned to deal with that himself. He was never violent towards me, probably because he knew I didn't fear him, and would knock his head off his shoulders or die trying :)

    I would never suggest to anyone else they take this tact - he and I have a unique relationship. I was willing to deal with the lying, cheating, drug use and keep him at home till he was done with his emotional age catching up to his chronological one. And for the most part, he has turned out ok. Last month he moved back home after living on his own for over a year (his landlord decided to redo the home and put it up for sale) He has his own computer repair business, and works part time in an office, and takes jobs in laying floors when they become available. He pays his bills, is polite and respectful for the most part (he still is a bit of a difficult child), so what I dedided to do worked. My eldest difficult child, on the other hand, who is a liar and master manlipitor, well, I walked away. Nothing I could do at her age if she couldn't get herself together. I knew she would be ok but don't have time for the drama.

    This has always been a soft place to land - take the advice you feel would work for your difficult child, and disregard the rest. You are the only one who knows them like no other.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if it was me, I never tell anyone what to do. I post my own thoughts and say that people should take what they find useful and discard the rest. I wish I had started younger with my own mentally ill son to take responsibility for his illness. He was so ill in college he had to drop out and spent some time on social security and was in ER and suicidal all the time for several years. I also suffered from mental illness all of my life. Of course we bring our own experiences into our responses, but we also TRY, I think, to bring in common sense. After a child turns 18, we can't make that child do anything. The person with that 20 year old daughter, can not force her into treatment nor make her want to improve her mental health.

    I liken mental health to any health concern. Say somebody had diabetes. Well, let's say two people do. They are young, and shouldn't have to suffer with it, but the cards they were dealt were that they both have diabetes. And that makes them sick, have behavioral issues, make them feel different and sometimes very angry. Most childhood diabetics are in peril of their lives at times. Now...say one child decides, "I am going to live as normal a life as I can, dang it, and I'm going to monitor my blood sugar, eat only waht I should, abstain from alcohol and recreational drugs and take good care of my body so that my life can be almost like everyone else's. That's an attitude that will probably get her far. Now lets go to Adult Child II who I will call difficult child.

    difficult child is bitter and mad and non-compliant with his treatment. When his friends eat sweets and drink, he doesn't want to feel different and does not think about the future and he does what they do and sometimes he doesn't end up in the hospital. He does not work out...he is told it is good for him, but he is too lazy and tired and doesn't feel well a lot of the time, because of his diabetes, so he lays around. Sometimes he smokes weed to forget about his rotten life and the horrible things that were dealt him. He ends up in the hospital in a coma a few times, and his entire family sits him down, cries, begs and pleads with him to take care of himself and he promises, but as soon as he promises, he is back doing what he always does and ends up sicker and sicker. When this happens, he blames his mom because he is sick and yells at her for not telling him when to take his shots or for not giving him a Playstation III. She is puzzled as he is trying to use his illness to get stuff from her and he is twenty years old, not working, always sick, eating wrong, overweight and he knows what will happen if he doesn't start to take care of himself. He thinks only in the moment and of himself and does not care if his family is afraid they will lose him. He does what he wants to do.

    What in the world can the parents do to help the second child?

    Absolutely nothing. Oh, they can nag. They HAVE nagged. It ends up in a fight and he still doesn't change. They can then tell him that if he doesn't take his insulin and try to take care of his health, because THEY CAN NOT DO IT FOR HIM, he is getting his money supply cut off. They have tried doing the opposite too...showering him with extra lover, toys, money, etc. and he was still the same and not respectful or any less dangerous in his behavior.

    Exactly what do you think we can do to force our children to take care of themselves, whether they are diabetic or mentally ill? I am mentally ill. I am better now because I choose to be the first Child in this story. I know many who chose to be the second child and are sixty and still not well or, bluntly, dead of alcoholism or drug abuse.

    So what can this woman do to make her child not commit suicide or make an attempt, whether or not it was serious? I made attempts. None were really serious. Can they be serious? Yes! Any of our difficult children can die tomorrow. It is our biggest fear and our nightmare. I was terrified during the entire custody battle that difficult child 36 would kill himself. He not only threatened to do it, he actually had a reason. I would get off the phone and think about what I could do to stop him. There was nothing I could do other than to call 911 if he threatened and I told him I would so he didn't.

    Nobody is sugesting that this poor mother scream at her kid that she was a bad daughter. We are telling her that she can not do anything about her daughter. She can't. If she comes home, nothing will change except that the entire family will be in chaos, not just the grown child. My daughter managed to use meth right under my nose and I was homeschooling her and I didn't know how she even got the drugs nor did I really know she was doing it. But I do know that my other kids freaked out every time the police came over to check on her and question her. She also grabbed a butcher knife and held it to her throat in front of the young kids who were hysterical. I called 911. It was the only thing I could do. She spent two weeks in a psyche hospital and when she came out she was still not willing to change and the drug parade went on. Finally, finally, we made her leave for many reasons. She was not 36. She was 19 when she had to leave our house. The result? She is clean.

    So...I don't feel like anyone gave this poster bad advice. You certainly don't have to do what WE choose to do. Nobody here would ever tell you not to bring your son home if that is what you decided. But we all do post our own opinions. Sometimes what somebody says makes me uncomfortable. And I'm sure, being human, it is the same for you. But we do pour our hearts out and we give sincere input. And I feel nobody should be shut down unless the person is being obviously rude.

    Everyone who posts here has the right to disregard everything/anything that we say. Mental illness is treatable, if the person who is sick WANTS to get treatment. If the person does not, they will stay sick. It is not different from addiction. It takes a committment , not of Mom's part, but on the person's part. Also, I disagree that twenty is not a young adult. I also think it's better to get them to stand on their own two feet at a younger age rather than waiting until they are thirty. And I feel we should all respect one another's reactions and responses because each response helps the poster decide what he/she should do in his personal path. But, no, this is our own journey. We hold hands, but we can't walk for one another. We simply share.

    As always, my disclaimer: None of this is absolute fact. Take what you like and leave the rest. Or take all of it and left it. But this is my heartfelt feelings that I have a right to post. As does anyone else.

    Wishing you a day of serenity and peace, spent happily with yourself and your loved ones who treat you with love and respect.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, forgot to add, I was in two private hospitals and one university hospital. By far the best care I got was at the university hospital. The private ones would not have tried talking me into coming back if I had left AMA. Nor would even the great university hospital. They know they can't force you to get treatment and they don't try.(That is unless it has changed a lot).

    I got to stay in the psychiatric hospital for TEN WEEKS back in the dinasaur days :) Insurance allowed me to stay until I was actually stable on my medications. Insurance today, except for certain drug rehabs, do not keep the mentally ill in hospitals more than just as a band aid until they can discharge them to outpatient. It is unheard of to be in a p-hospital for a long time these days.

    Thank those who emptied out psychiatric hospitals and lobbied for the civil rights of even the psychotic. Nobody can force even a psychotic individual to go into any hospital unless he is holding a knife to his throat or waving it at other people. And two days later, you better believe that person will no longer be considered a threat and will be out on the streets again. Thus, the mentally ill, like myself and my son, have to take of our mental health issues outisde of a hospital setting and that's on us, it's not on our parents who can't make us go or make us take our medications.

    Ok, vent over! (whew!!!!) I think it's time for a workout at the gym for stress relief!!
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with you. At times we seem to forget that every situation is unique. That there is no one size fits all model to deal with these issues. Our difficult children are different, we are different, environments and cultures we live in are different. We are in different places in our life. And even more so, we do want different things from life.

    My difficult child is also still young and I'm still in my early forties. I assume things I want from my life and from my relationship with my kid will not be same twenties years from now. But now they are, what they are and they are not necessarily things many others in this board would want from their life and their relationship with their difficult children. Actions chosen have to be chose according to what you want from any given situation. If the hoped outcomes are different, so are advisable means.

    I was just thinking about when reading Recoveringenablers great topic about acceptance. Thinking that it could be something I would work to obtain twenty years from now, but how at this point it certainly is not something I would want now.

    Maybe we should be more careful in telling others what they should do or tell them they are wrong or that their children are this or that (because we really don't know those kids) and be more eager to ask how the poster thinks about the issues and what they want to do and what are their goals in any given situation. And refrain from statements like 'addicts this or that', 'addicts are like this or that', 'people with condition x are like this or that or are not like this or that.' Every addict is different. Every autist is different. Evey person with bipolar is different.
  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I have to say, I seek advice here and I give advice here. I don't hear the advice offered me as final, and I don't intend mine as absolute either. It is just a community of people sharing experience and opinions.

    I think if you read carefully that the message is consistent: you can't control some one else's life, and you do young adults no favors when you try to do so. They have to take responsibility for their own choices. I think that is true....across the board. And I think that lesson really can't be learned too young. Whether that translates into withdrawing financial or emotional support, or having them leave home....that of course will vary with age, relationship, locale, acuity, and everything else.

    I am OK with the advice giving as is. We can't control the actions of our difficult child's...we definitely can't control what readers do with what we say. Trying to do that would take away a lot of the value of this exchange. We are all honest here, and we all respect each other here. Those are incredibly important assets that I would like to see preserved.

    As far as the difficult child who posted...I was one of the ones who answered her in ways that may have seemed harsh. To my mind she was failing to respect boundaries, as difficult child's do, by posting on a site that is "a soft haven for weary parents". The soft place for difficult child's kinda has to be elsewhere.

    I think you were brave to bring this up, and it is worth thinking over. That is just my 2 cents !

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  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    We all bring our biases to the board. It's unavoidable. I actually didn't respond to that particular post because my difficult child's girlfriend committed suicide 1-1/2 years ago.... *None* of us saw it coming, and I cannot begin to express the devastating effects of it, not only on difficult child but on the rest of my family. It is still devastating and very much a big part of our lives today; affects a lot of our interactions, perhaps for the better in terms of gentleness, but at the very core is a lot of hurt and anger and pain and grief and what-ifs. I miss the young woman more than I can tell you, and I'm ... guilt-ridden, truth be told, that I had absolutely *no* idea she was in such distress. At the same time, I'm extremely angry that she did this to my son, my family, herself.

    I think at the end of the day there has to be a recognition that we, as parents, can only do so much. My difficult child has been admitted multiple times for suicidal ideation. He's also a master manipulator, and if the hospital staff can't recognize the manipulation... there is very little I can do about it. Maybe it's a defeatist attitude... but if my difficult child cannot/will not help himself, there is absolutely *nothing* I can do about it. Nothing. Ever.

    I think the vast majority of us, if not *all* of us since we're here in the first place, have worked to support our kids in getting treatment. We are unfortunately dealing with a system that recognizes the right of self-determination, which has never made sense to me when you're dealing with a mentally ill child (or adult child). If a person is not an imminent danger to himself or others, they cannot be held involuntarily. Sometimes supporting them to receive appropriate treatment just isn't going to cut it.

    I think maybe you're misinterpreting responses. The reality is that once our kids hit 18, and in a lot of states the age of consent for psychiatric tx is much younger, there is very little we can do to *force* treatment. We can encourage our kids, but ... mentally ill, substance abusing, or a combination of the two.... unless/until *they* buy into the fact that they are struggling and need help, we are virtually powerless to force the issue.

    It's an important subject to ponder - what can we do to encourage tx - but it needs to be tempered with the knowledge that our kids are not always ready to accept that encouragement.
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  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    BITS, I reread the thread you are talking about several times. difficult child was under psychiatric care, both in the psychiatric hospital and in the general hospital. Her threat was taken very seriously by her roommate, her psychologist and her parents. I didn't feel anyone who responded was advising brushing their hands off and walking away without a 2nd thought. I thought the gist of it was that adults of sound mind have the right to refuse treatment, as hard as that is to accept. But I can also see that I bring my own issues and experiences to this board, and by putting things through that filter, I have been guilty of attributing motives and circumstances that I have no way of knowing. I will try to be more mindful of that. I also think you were very brave to bring this up, and I thank you for it.
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  9. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    I'm sorry if my raising this was upsetting-- I really wasn't pointing out anything to anyone in particular, just wanted to point out that it's something to think about...I've just been bothered by it and thought it was worth raising in case others (for example, the receivers of the posts-- who generally have been new members) were reading things the same as me...I just think it's worth thinking about and being mindful of what we say...I read that post and understood that 1) there had been a crisis that got the daughter in the ER; 2) they convinced her in the ER to sign herself in for p-treatment; 3) once there, she was manipulative but also had a legitimate physical issue- enough to be hospitalized; and 4) since she was a 'captive' audience so to speak, the poster was asking for help on what to do for her...I took some of the replies to imply there's no hope, she's an adult, nothing parents can do so let it go...I totally agree with that IF this is a daughter who's been in treatment before, and all those other lovely difficult child traits we know so well...but maybe there was hope that since she wasn't feeling good and in a vulnerable position (her boyfriend is going to kick her out-- that's a rock bottom moment if you ask me) the family could show her a united front to either get treatment or be on her own...that's what an intervention would have done-- get the family who she'd most likely try and live with to all say 'no'...you need help, you can get it here and if you don't, you can't come live with us (if she has a family willing to come together like that, god bless her! she's very fortunate)...that's all I was suggesting in my replies...as the mom of a 19yo difficult child who is mentally ill and been hospitalized twice when he was younger- and was kicked out of our house because he wouldn't get treatment (and attacked me), I know there's not alot we can do in what is often a hopeless feeling (if not actual) situation...but when they are at a place where they are at or near rock bottom, if my son ever gets there, I will do everything I can to show him how he's done this to himself and nothing will change if he doesn't get help-- and do what I can to get him that help if he's even open to the idea...it's sometimes the only way people can actually 'see' that the bulk of the issues are their own, not everyone else's...who knows if it would have worked but it was worth a try...to me it was...she's 20, not 30 or 40 with a long history of being an adult with her illness...I was just trying to say that maybe that situation is better than we were assuming...or what we've been through ourselves...and yes, it's true that people don't have to take advice from this site but having been in a crisis situation only ~3 months ago and desperate for advice from people who know/understand my situation, I'm pretty sure the new members feel desperate too and will grasp for advice as it comes...I know I did and do

    and I still believe that if someone is expressing suicidal thoughts and you don't know that person to tell if they are manipulating you, then you must take it seriously because you just don't know what that person is capable of...and as slsh noted, the potential outcome is worth avoiding even if in the end you feel used and manipulated...maybe that's just me but it was worth raising the issue I thought to generate some thinking about it...apologies again if I upset anyone-- that wasn't my intent
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi BITS, I agree with you that these are very serious issues that we talk about on this board, and I appreciate your reminder and questions about the thoughtfulness we bring to our responses.

    It is always good to pause and think about what we are writing and have written before we hit the "Post Reply" button. That is something I will work at remembering more often.

    One of the things I have learned in recovery is that I do not know what is right for anybody else. I can't know that because I haven't lived their life, walked in their shoes, had the same experiences, or have the same background and values.

    I can only share what I have learned from my own walk and my own experiences.

    I do understand that when we are in a crisis and desperately grasping for answers, we may react in the moment and grab onto some else's advice as "our truth." I think that is always a risk on a board like this. I don't think we can fully resolve that risk.

    I believe that most people I have read here over the past weeks and months are sincere and honest about what they are offering. Sometimes we are very passionate in our beliefs as these are core issues we have struggled with in our own dark night of the soul.

    As adults, we have to be responsible for what we do with what we read. We have to determine if any action is right for us.

    I always take suicide threats seriously. My son has threatened suicide several times and I have always taken it seriously even if I doubt he will do it. It would be horrible if I ever ignored a threat and then he actually did it. I cannot imagine the depth of my misery if that were to happen. My ex husband and I recently talked about that very issue on the phone. We agreed that we don't believe he will commit suicide, but we will always take any mention of it seriously. I don't know what else to do other than that.

    And I have to say that crying wolf about that does wear on one after a while. It is a dangerous thing on both sides.

    Oh, this is so hard and so very serious as we are talking about the very things that make us human. We are talking about our fundamental humanity and our deep love for our children. We are talking about our own value system and we are trying to do something that does not come naturally to us.

    It is everybody's choice and right and responsibility to do only what they decide to do, having heard the thoughts and ideas of others. I hope and pray that is always the case, and nobody here ever believes we are anything more than humans doing the very best we can, with no particular expertise in this strange existence we are trying to live in.

    I know you to be a caring and thoughtful person and again, I appreciate your bringing this up and believe it has been worth thinking about and talking about. I hope any of us can be honest like this about any of our concerns on this board at any time.

    My best to you, BITS, and to all on this board.
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  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmmmmm....read again.

    Nobody, nobody, not one person has ever said there is nno hope. What we are saying is that we as parents can not make it happen for our adult children unless they want our help and want to get better. And it's true. We can't. There is hope if t he adult child himself decides he's had enough and changes. You see sober people in AA and NA meetings all the time. They decided to get better. You see people in self-help mental health groups leading the newcomers who are scared and wonder if they will get better...and they feel good because they see that the leader, who has been through it, did get better. And they share, like we do, in those groups. And everyone decides what is right for himself/herself out of the discussions.

    Just because WE can't do it for them and just because they may not be ready RIGHT NOW does not mean there is no hope. At the same time, some don't improve. I have never seen anybody imply that anything is hopeless. It is really up to the individual whether or not they want to be helped. And how hard they want to work at it. And some things are fixed more easily than others. The vast majority of our difficult children have a lot of hard work to do if they want to get well, and, no, we can't do it for them. But that doesn't mean they can't or never will do it themselves. My own daughter is a great example of somebody who did turn it around. Patriot's Girl's daughter had to go to jail and have a baby to turn it around. It can happen, but we the parents can not be the ones who make it happen.

    I like "radical acceptance." Maybe somebody else finds peace another way. Any way is okay if it works for you.
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  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I understand your points BITS and I appreciate that you had the courage to take the risk and post your feelings. It's opened up a thoughtful discussion too which is an added bonus.

    The way that I look at is that we're a community of parents sharing our experiences and offering our experiences to others. We are not trained professionals, we are not following the guidelines of a protocol, we are trying to help another who is suffering in a similar way as we have. We all bring our histories, our prejudices, our fears and our beliefs to our posts, we do the best we can in the hopes of helping..............and at times we bring our assumptions as well. The one thing that I believe is true is that our collective intent is to support and to be of comfort to another parent..........and I guess for me, that smooths over a lot. To my knowledge, no one intends harm and at least since I've been here, I have not heard of anyone suffering from bad advice. For me that intention to help carries a lot of weight.

    The single most valuable component of being here for me, wasn't the advice I got, (although that was monumentally helpful) it was the knowledge that I wasn't alone anymore, that there were others out there who were going through this devastating landscape, that I had actually found a community of parents who knew how this felt.........for me that was nothing short of a miracle. For me that sense of belonging bridges the waters of our human foibles.

    Even in my most desperate moments I was able to sort through the advice and take what I needed and leave the rest. I believe the posters here can read what others have written and make distinctions between what is best for their kids and what is not........I have always trusted that since we know coming in that this forum is not filled with Doctors and Therapists, but mothers and fathers who are in the same boat as we are, that the advice given is from regular people who bring their own 'stuff' along with them.

    I take suicide threats very seriously too. My son in law committed suicide and I watched in horror how two families imploded and were never the same again. My family is full of mental illnesses......I've had a front row seat to the horrors of what that does to a family...........and I've read story after story on this site of parents who are as close to the edge as their kids are, begging for help because they just don't know what to do. We respond to that plea with our hearts.............we recall those awful moments when we were there and we reach as far into the page as we can to pull that parent out of that place.............if we say the wrong thing, or we assume we know where they are coming from............it is done with a pure intention of doing whatever needs to be done to get that parent back on safe ground.

    BITS your points are very thoughtfully expressed and definitely worth our attention so that we can all be more mindful of our assumptions. Thank you.
  13. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    "The single most valuable component of being here for me, wasn't the advice I got, (although that was monumentally helpful) it was the knowledge that I wasn't alone anymore, that there were others out there who were going through this devastating landscape, that I had actually found a community of parents who knew how this felt.........for me that was nothing short of a miracle. For me that sense of belonging bridges the waters of our human foibles." recovering

    I agree wholeheartedly with this.
    I joined recently and, although I haven't followed every bit of advice, I have taken the bits that help, and I feel 100 times better than I did a month ago. I'm functioning on a day-to-day basis, rather than waking up in the morning and wanting to dig myself a pit and bury myself in it. As someone asking for advice, I know that all parents are not 'experts' in all cases, but the value of sharing experience can't be underestimated.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Any time you are on a support forum, you will get a variety of ideas and they are based on our experiences, the types of therapy that helped us, and our priorities. There will never be 100% concensus, but if we all respect this, then it is ok. We need everyone to contribute.

    I take suicide threats so seriously that 36 is now very mindful of using that because I will and have hung up and called 911 to have somebody check in on him. I am not in Missouri so that is my option. When my daughter held a knife to her throat, I called 911 immediately. She was calm by the time the cops came, and I cried when they put her in handcuffs (they said for their own safety) and drove her to a psychiatric hospital. She was screaming and I was crying and it was horrible and to this day I don't know if she was serious and asking her about it she says she was not sure either.

    If one of my kids sent me a suicidal threat, I'd call 911 and forward the threat to the police and ask for a well check on the person. And the woman with the daughter CAN call the cops and ask for a well visit just because she is worried.

    But, and this was most apparent to me during 36s custody battle when he was so distraught suicide came up a lot until I finally called 911...there is absolutely nothing I could ever do to stop him from it. He can do it faster than a response team can get there if he really wants to. Sometimes 36 uses suicide to manipulate us, but I believe that if he had lost his son to his ex he would have totally gone off the deep end and if he hadn't killed himself...would he had gone after her???? I really didn't know.

    But sadly I have had to accept that this could happen to 36 and in the end it one's own decision. At 14, at 19, at 20, at any age...suicide happens. It is probably the worst experience of the survivor's life (I have not gone through it thankfully, but it has to be brutal and guilt-invoking). Nobody here has said that suicide is nothing to be serious about either. But rather than calling the son who may be suicidal and wasting time, in my opinion it's better to call 911.

    My disclaimer: Every single word and thought put down on this post is 100% my own opinion which you can laugh at, spit at, toss out, hate me for, love me for, think I'm wrong, think I'm right, etc. etc. etc. Never do any of us, I think, take the advice we get here and think, "OMG. I have to do it allo because Susie Smith said I do. I think it makes us think perhaps differently than before and gives us stuff to chew on. And I think our support is comforting. But I don't believe any of us are not able to think for ourselves. I now feel I have to post this discliamer every time...lolol :) But, really, guys, my thoughts are my thoughts; nothing more, nothing less. And we are allowed to agree to disagree with respect.
  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    In my state threatening suicide is against the law. I am very grateful for that law.

    The several times I have called 911 about my son's threats to commit suicide were another chance for him to get help.
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You are all rather strong characters, I have to say, if it is so easy to just take what you need and leave the rest and not think it twice. I have only couple times ended up being against the board consensus and gotten beaten for it, and I have to say it has not been a fun experience and it certainly made me question the things I knew to be right for me and mine. And I thought I do have a thick skin.

    I learned my lesson and don't generally post my opinions or experiences if I know they differ from board consensus, because I don't want to fight and even less drag a thread of some new, in crisis member to fight about some 'board truths.'
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  17. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi SuZir, I am glad you posted your thoughts about this topic. I don't think any of this is easy at all. In fact, every bit of it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am doing the best I can at any given moment.

    I want all of the input I can get. And then I still agonize over what to do, what not to do. It is never easy to decide to do something and it is never easy to decide to do nothing. I need support, and a good wall to "throw it all up there and see what sticks." Then I still am responsible for doing what I decide to do and living with the consequences.

    I am okay with saying something that is different from what other people are saying, if I see a situation differently. There is so much we don't know about all of it, and this board is just "one snapshot" in time.

    This board has helped me gain strength about my next step in stopping enabling. I have come a long way in four years in Al-Anon and I believe strongly in that program. This board has helped me in a different way but I always need to take anything I read and hear with a grain of salt, because nobody knows my situation like I do.

    I hope honesty prevails here. It is so rare. I hope we can value it, even if we don't always agree with it.
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  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If we were not strong people, we may not survive our difficult children and, many times, our own horrible childhoods.

    Also, many of us are students of Twelve Step programs and they worked very well for us so we pass what we learned. If somebody feels it is unhelpful, I would think that, since we are all adults, the person would disregard the advice. Recovering Enabler, Cedar, myself and maybe a few others I missed have some Buddhist leanings and are into "radical acceptance" and "mindfulness." Some of us had good therapists who taught us things that helped us. It makes sense we would try to help others by passing along what we have learned that helped us. Although that does not in any way mean that the same methods will help another, it is our heartfelt attempt to give comfort and strength.

    It is comforting to me, and I will not speak for anyone else, when 36 was going off the rails and acting insane and dangerous to know that those who were answering my posts know exactly what I was going through because they have gone through it too. It is hard for me to share with people who have not had dangerous, crazy, unstable young adult child that they love but don't like very much. I feel I can let it out here and will continue to do so. Most of us are, sadly, in the same boats. It is a little soothing to at least feel understood, no?
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    CoM, in almost any forum you can see the same phenomenon, first responses set the tone of the thread. Rarely anyone raises the different opinions. It is basic psychology. Most people, in fact most animals avoid conflict whenever possible. Conflicts take lot of resources and in most cases retreat is wiser choice.

    Making that choice may be conscious or unconscious but most people do it.

    Heh, this is kind the point. Your opinions in this topics are popular in this board. I happen to disagree. I agree that detachment and even distance/no contact may at times be an only way to save your mental health or provide peaceful home to your other family members and at times it may be a question of safety. I'm certainly not against anyone detaching. However I don't see it as the only right choice, nor do I believe much to concept of enabling. In fact I have never even seen any clear definition what enabling is and even less have I seen any research or scientific evidence it harms an enabled person. In contrary I have seen research that seems to show differently. For example I have seen several studies of young criminals that seems to suggest that offenders who had parents that did things many would consider enabling faired better and re-offend less than offenders, who had parents who didn't get involved (for example didn't come to court, didn't visit in prison much, weren't much involved with after incarnation planning etc.)

    Same with many tough love concepts. There is very little proof of their effectiveness. My own experiences also come into a play in this. I never got anything good out from using consequences, punishments or restrictions with my difficult child. Things that at least at times worked were positive reinforcement, building on positives, keeping sure positive influences stayed in his life even when he didn't 'earn' them. And modeling and creating habits. Any kind of tough love attempts were more or less spectacular failures.

    I also don't have much faith in twelve steps treatment. I have never seen scientific evidence of it working better than anything else, I certainly don't have much faith on it's basic theory. While my personal experiences are limited, just few al-anon meetings etc. I'm sceptical due the experiences of people I know.

    My scepticism started quarter of the century ago on the day I picked up my dad from Minnesota Model treatment centre when he was kicked out from there for making and drinking alcohol during the treatment. We had told beforehand they had well over 90 % success rate and when I picked up him and few of his treatment buddies, I was still told their success rate was that 'from people who work the program.' Only thing that the centre was kicking out 18 of their 20 patients in that day. And my dad claimed that only reason those two were not kicked out was because they had passed out much earlier and weren't there drinking anymore when they were busted. My dad is lying lier who lies, but I'm bit inclined to believe on that story ;) I mean, I can come up with treatment model that has 100 % success rate, if one just follows it. It goes like this: "Do not drink!" Works like a charm (well in fact for about 5 % of alcoholics it works just like that per year, it is a spontaneous recovery rate of alcoholism without any treatment.) I have heard that same be statement after that too and that certainly doesn't lower my suspicions.

    By the way, my dad now in his late sixties has been mostly moderate drinker well over a decade despite several deliriums and other signs of alcohol dependency as well as couple amphetamine psychosis etc. in his past, so I don't even have much belief on concept of alcoholism AA has.

    Also my friend has a bad experience with AA and so did my difficult child last fall with other twelve steps group. Though I have to say my difficult child's bad experience wasn't due to twelve steps so much than because of an individual who used the meetings to prey people.

    Any how I'm well aware that twelve steps do offer free and accessible option for people in certain parts not the world. And many have gained lot of positive things from them. I just don't believe that treatment model is all and be all. There are other options and different models may be more suitable to different people.

    Yes, I'm the person who wants science and evidence based treatment to my own bailments and those of my minor children or even adult children if I'm to pay a penny for that treatment.

    I have also other unpopular opinions of roles of genetics and environmental factors in several issues and how much parenting influences to things. And that is just a beginning of it all ;)

    There has lately been lot of new members with kids with substance abuse issues and because of my differing opinions, I have not answered to those people, because I well known that voicing my point of views just get fight into our hands.

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm sure AA is not the answer for all. My one experience with AA was better. I had a boyfriend for a year who was in AA (it has been eighteen years now and we are in Facebook touch and he is still sober). His AA meetings were very helpful to him and informative and I often went with him. If somebody faltered, they were there to pick that person up, at least in this particular caring group.

    But none of us are saying AA or NA is the only way our children can quit. We are saying the only way they can quit is if they WANT to quit. We can't make that happen. How they do it happens in different ways. My daughter quit without going to rehab, AA or anything because it was her time to quit. I couldn't make her do it. Nobody could. She had to. Patriot's Girl's daughter quit after hitting rock bottom and having a beloved child.

    This board is not just about our adult children because they are adults. This board is mostly about accepting that we can not control our grown children's choices and also how to move on and live our own lives with peace and serenity in spite of the bad choices of our grown children. It's a board for us as much as for our adult children.It's a place for us to feel validated, serene and to learn that it is ok to be happy even while some of our adult children treat us like trash. It is learning that we are not our grown children and they are not us.

    Disclaimer: This is just my own take on things and it is fine for anyone to disagree.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014