When is total detachment the right thing to do?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BackintheSaddle, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    I started reading your forums last year and posted one at Christmas because we kicked out our 19 yo son after he attacked me...he's living with my parents now (horribly dysfunctional situation) and I had posted that they too 'turned on me'...since that time, I've been seeing a great therapist who is great with ODD type situations and helping me to figure out boundaries (something I'm not great with)...we agreed that since he's out of the house, as long as he's still in school (he's in a community college), I should keep paying for anything school related and in exchange, he has to meet me 1/week for breakfast or lunch just to keep up and try and rebuild a relationship...he has seemed pretty stable, everything is paradise-like living with grandparents, which is only serving to convince him that yes, he was right, all his problems have been our fault...Jake (my son) was willing to go see the therapist with me but is now refusing, says he doesn't want to deal with all the family drama right now...one thing I'm still paying for that I was going to raise with the therapist and Jake in the next appointment is his truck insurance ($175/month)...Jake feels strongly that I should still pay it because he'd have to reduce his hours at school to work more to pay that bill-- he has had the same job for more than a year, he doesn't use illegal drugs but refuses to take medications he needs...at this point, I'm still paying for his phone (I agree with others I've seen post that I want that connection kept open) and $20/week of gas money to school (he only goes 2 days)...should I stop paying for the insurance? make it a condition that I pay only if he goes with me to therapy (then isn't that coercing someone who's not willing to even try to have a relationship with me)? just let things lie for awhile like they are and hope he comes to the point where he cares if he has a relationship with me? he has only reached out to me twice in the month he's been gone-- both times asking for money and I've had to push him on the days to meet for breakfast (so far, 2 times we met in 1 month-- not exactly weekly)....also, he's not shown remorse for the 'attack' (he grabbed and shook me, screaming at my face, putting bruises on my arms)-- he's apologized with a 'but' I shouldn't have provoked him...no, I'm sorry any of this happened, the type of remorse a normal person would have...I guess my question is when do you know that 'total' detachment, not just partial, is the answer? he's doing good things-- school, long-term girlfriend (also very dysfunctional relationship thouhg) and job...some people wouldn't have even kicked him out...
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. What a brat!

    Ok, this is just me, but if my child refused to talk to me, and it has happened, the money stops. If you don't want me in your life, then live without me in your life. I can't control you and you can't control me. Paying for his truck? That would have stopped long ago. Regardless of whether he is doing some good things, he is abusing your love and no matter what my therapist told me, the money would stop. Grandpa and Grandma could pay for it. I refuse to pay money to anyone who doesn't have a relationship with me and is going around bad mouthing me. Yes, I used to think my children were more important than I am, but I have learned that our children are no more important than we are and if somebody is going to break my heart, then they can fund their own lives.

    I never do total detachment. They can always talk to me. I just don't allow abuse or allow myself to become The Bank. That way if they talk to me it's because they want to, not because they are using me. It is not that hard to get money for community college from the state. My daughter is doing it, not because I'm angry at her but because we don't have enough. In fact, I doubt she'll have to pay a dime. If he is not living with you, your income shouldn't count in figuring out if he gets money.

    Frankly, he had no right to touch you and there is no "but."

    Of course, this is just my opinion and just what I would do.

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart. This is so hard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Wow, MWM. I was just going to post that Jake'sMom should keep paying because Jake is doing so well. I liked what you said so much.

    All of it.

    If it were me though (and at one time, ten thousand times actually, it was me) I would continue paying for everything, pretty much without question. Which plan, interestingly and horribly enough, found me, some twenty years later, finally having to tell a son who never did pick up, never did quite manage to finish a class, always needed money and another car and a license reinstated and etc that, given that he FB back in December (when he was 38 years old) that I was a jerk, and a bad mother, I was not going to give him any more money.

    I haven't heard from him, since.

    So...looks like MWM is correct.

    Given that I would probably not be strong enough to stop paying and would blame myself for the rest of my life if something bad happened? I would keep paying, for now, and stop trying to control any other thing having to do with this son. He doesn't want to see you?

    Accept that.

    There will come a time when he does.

    One of the most important things I have learned as I go about my own process of detaching is that I have the right to coast along and do nothing. I get to think what it is I want to do. I get to choose not to panic.

    There is nothing you have to do, right now.

    Cut Jake loose. Think about whether you want to cut off the money or not. Tell Jake you've changed your mind. (Another thing detaching has taught me. I don't have to be right every time. I get to change my mind. I get to take a chance and then, make a different decision.) Tell him you've decided this whole thing isn't working for you, and you are thinking about cutting off the money. You can even give him a timetable.

    Then? Thank your lucky stars Jake has somewhere to live, and forget about agonizing over him. He's okay. Not homeless. On track and in school.

    It is Jack who is behaving like a spoiled jerk. You have done nothing wrong. The last thing you want to do is continue trying to exert any control over Jack, at all. Your parents have stepped in and given him a place to live, effectively taking away whatever power you had.

    Jack put them in a crummy position, too.

    It's all about Jack, Jack, Jack.

    Jack is 19. There are 19 year olds who fight in other countries, make their ways in the world, come home and honor their mothers.

    That is who you want Jack to be.

    You don't have to accept anything less.

    Cedar

    That's the thing with these kids. It's like a stupid, hurtful game. Jack has declared his independence.

    Believe him.

    Believe him, and declare yours.
     
  4. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Thank you both for responding...I've read enough of your threads to know you're experts living this life...MWM is right but how do you do that? you make it sound so easy to just stop and cut them off...the therapist's rationale was that since I can pay for his school and he's sticking with it and doing well, I should continue in order to show him I want him to be a success-- and this is a guy who specializes in ODD, ADHD and the transition from home to being on your own (my son's shrink recommended him and he's very directive which is what I need right now)...my son of course says he thinks I don't love him since I was willing to kick him out...which is one of many ways he manipulates my parents to be against me and builds up my guilt...this web site is so awesome to help gain perspective...I get so caught up in the guilt and sadness that I can't see straight...I hope I can get more in touch with my anger today so I'm not so damn mopey...still in my PJs, got next to no sleep last night, and just a mess...
     
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I was raised to be a spoiled brat; everything I needed and 95% of what I wanted handed to me on silver platter didn't have to work for anything. Boundaries I don't think there were any after age 14, mom waited till I was 17yo to try to set any (attempted to ground me) I walked out the door and when I came home that night my makeup, hairdryer, a bag of clothes and my pillow were all in a pile on the front porch (hmmmm key doesn't fit lock any more)

    I was angry at the time but realize now it was one of the best things my parents ever did for me. I was totally out of control... my dad got lease cars thru his work. I always had a brand new car with insurance that didn't cost me anything parents even gave me gas money (when not working) I remember one time during a temper tantrum I went out and side swiped a Cadillac that was parked on the street just to hear it go CRUNCH! $1200 damage to lease car my big slap on the hands? THEY GAVE ME A BRAND NEW NEW YORKER to drive while MY car was being fixed.

    I swore that when I had kids even if I were a bazzilionaire who could give kids a car they would be responsible for every penny of their insurance or they wouldn't be driving. My parents paying it I didn't learn responsibility, having new cars that needed no maintenance I never learned how important to check the oil or get it changed once in a while. As an adult not learning these things has cost me 2 blown engines. Babysat $1500 worth bought a used car that my boyfriend wrapped around a tree a week after got it - before I finally started to catch on about responsible car ownership.

    He is doing better at his grandparents house because they aren't the people he has been walking all over his whole life! He's putting on an act for them to convince them (and himself) what a good son he is and that you are the problem not him. Even if it is just an act to start if he grows up a little in the process who cares how he got there the important thing is he is working toward cutting the umbilical cord.

    At some point he will get out of school and hopefully get a decent paying job. Trust me on this... first time grandma walks in on him with his girlfriend he's going to want to get his own place.

    If he has any job I would let him buy his own gas, as a reward for staying in school I would consider paying half of the auto insurance with a few chores so I could feel he did something to earn that money I put out and didn't just "play me for an idiot".

    When they are babies they rely on us for everything but around 16yo we really do need to start weening them off the parents bankroll or they never have any incentive to go get a bankroll of their own.

    Just my opinion, take what you can use and dump the rest
    Nancy
     
  6. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    wow, Nancy...exactly what I needed to hear...you are right on every point (and yes, I'm currently giving him gas money to go to and from school-- and he's working so why AM I doing that?)...
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How did I do it? I just did it. You can not attack me, lunge at me, call me names, betray me by telling tales to my parents, refuse to accept responsibility and then toss me out of your life and expect me to meekly fund you just in case somebody else might think I'm not being nice. You think Jake will like you better if you fund him? He will have NO respect for you if you allow him to treat you this way, even putting his hands on you, yet you pay for his truck, his college, his other stuff. You can buy him a cheap pay as you go phone to keep in touch.

    Remember, though, I have been in serious therapy since age 23 and I desperately wanted to change my life for the better. I have learned to take what therapists say that is good and leave the rest, which is not always good. I have learned that I matter. I am a wuss to my PCs, but I had no trouble cutting the money off cold when Daughter had cigarettes in her purse. I know a lot of people think, "Cigarettes? Really?" Yes, really. They can and often do kill you and are hard to quit. I was not going to help my daughter pollute her lungs. It was after that I found that she was also using drugs and I refused to help her die by giving her money for meth and psychedelics...heck, even for pot. Guess what? She got a job!!! Now she probably did spend some of that money on drugs and cigarettes, but it didn't come out of my pocket so if, God forbid, she had overdosed and the worst had happened I didn't have to think, "I helped this happen."

    As for cars, no adult child is entitled to own a car, especially if they may misuse drugs and alcohol. Since when was a truck something you had to pay for? We couldn't afford to get our kids cars, but we made the mistake of getting drug user daughter a used car anyway. She cracked it up in no time. That was $6000 that we didn't have down the toilet.

    I have no idea if there is a cause and effect here, but when my daughter left, she left without a dime. We sent her nothing. She lived with her straight-arrow, kind-of-a-jerk brother who was so straight, I doubt he can bend even to pick something off the ground. He gave her nothing and charged her rent. It was him or the great outdoors and homelessness. So she was forced to walk to get a meager job at Subway and because she would not be able to stay with him if she didn't have a job, she did it! And she straightened out.

    I do not give myself any kudos for her turnaround, but it was rather dramatic after she left our home. She had no enablers. She had to get her act together or learn how to panhandle. So it is to her credit that she decided to straighten out her act. But I emphatically believe that our hard stance helped her make her decision that her life, as it was, really stunk. And she will say so too.

    Today we are best friends and she is expecting our grandchild. I believe in tough love with a child is as out of control as Jake is. If he wants to live with Gran and Gran, let Gran pay for him. If he wants to drive, let Gran get him a car or else let him walk or take t he bus or a cab.

    I know this is major time hard line, but I just refuse to help my kids self-destruct and I also refuse to do nice things for adult kids who are deliberately abusing me.

    Did I ever second guess myself? Sure. But I know and knew then that it was the right thing to do. And, by the way, Daughter quit even the cigarettes. I consider that a huge victory. I do not consider cigarettes benign. It is a terrible habit, very hard to break, and I am thrilled that now I have all non-smokers as kids because you can't smoke and visit me.

    It is amazing at what good work ethics all of my kids have. J., my daughter, has her own house (along with her SO) and works her tail off. Even 36, my biggest difficult child, has a very well paying job and works hard. Whatever else he does, at least he is not asking me for funds that I don't have and when he calls me, it may not always be sweet conversations, but he is not asking me to give him anything.

    I would never reward a child for going to school. That's what graduation parties are for. Just going to school isn't enough. Let's see what his grades are like, if he finishes, and if he deserves this graduation present. You can't even be sure he is really going.

    Remember, though, how long I have been in therapy. And because of my mental health challenges, I have gone to psychiatrists, therapists, self-help groups and have done a huge amount of self-help reading on my own as well. So it's probably easier for me. I've been hearing about codependency and enabling since I was in my early 30s. I love my kids. I would die for any of them. I refuse to give them any money that will make them stay children, abuse me, or be used to possibly harm themselves.

    Vent over :) Remember, you have to feel comfortable in your own skin, but you aren't going to make Jake love you better if you give in to him. Usually it backfires and they just want more and more. Worse, they accuse you of not doing enough.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You've gotten great responses and good feedback for your questions. We all have our ways of dealing with our own detachment from our kids, there really isn't a right or wrong answer to your question, it is what we can live with and each scenario is so different.

    Having said that, I would look within myself to discern what it is that I want,what it is that I don't want,what I am willing to do and what I am not willing to do. I would consider that often when there is resentment you can be fairly well assured that you are enabling him. If there is loving kindness, that feels good, enabling feels bad. That helped me to make some decisions.

    I don't know if "total" detachment is real or not. We detach from negative circumstances that people create which harm us, however, we usually always love them, but sometimes we have to do that from afar. They are too wounded or destructive, or violent, or manipulative, or whatever, for us to be safe in their atmosphere.

    Your son is still pretty young and has that EGO thing going for him, where he still knows everything, so it can be so challenging to deal with that. You want to begin teaching him that he has some responsibility for his own self. If he is working, exactly what is he spending his money on? He has no rent or food bill, so where does the money go? How much is he earning? Look at his earnings and figure out what he can afford with the job he has and insist on him paying for some portion of his insurance. I think I would also have some consequence for his not meeting you too. For instance, when he meets you, you will give him gas money............or when he goes to therapy, you give him gas money............no meeting, no therapy, no gas money.

    With all their resistance to growing up and being responsible, there really is a training and guidance experience they need to have.......and we do them no favors by making it easy on them because that IS NOT real life. I did that with my daughter and I paid for that mistake dearly..........you don't want to be paying his car insurance when he is 40 years old. But right now, you can set some small boundaries and get him started on being accountable and responsible for himself and his choices.

    In the final analysis, it's entirely your choice and what you feel right about doing............we can all give you our opinions, even your therapist, but you are the one living this with your son...........and if you make a mistake, you can correct it............so give it some thought and decide what feels right to YOU and then follow that. We all make mistakes in this journey. it's a really hard one.........but after awhile you really know what to do, it all develops over time..........it's a process...........wishing you lots of peace and comfort along the way..........
     
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  9. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    that's excellent advice...thank you both...I too have been in therapy alot over the years, mostly as a result of growing up in an alcoholic highly dysfunctional family and being an ACOA (I'm a psychologist as well-- not that my training really helps me today!)...;-)....I've made 2 decisions today, one is that I'm not contacting him anymore but will respond if he contacts me for anything OTHER THAN money...so far, that has yet to happen, and the other is that I'm going to stop paying his insurance to some extent...we already had it set up that he pays for his tuition and IF he gets a 3.0, we'll pay him back...he didn't make that goal last semester so so far, he's paid all his tuition on his own (I buy books)...the $20 gas money is already agreed upon that the only way he gets that is with a weekly meeting...so we'll see how long that takes for him to contact me about...I did cut him off Netflix today!...I know that sounds so minor but it's a big deal to me...he will rant when he finds out he can't stream anymore...

    when you've made these choices in the past, like cutting them off...do you communicate with them about it? he will argue with me and tell me how awful I'm being to not support him since he is in school....i want to tell him that it's really about the fact that he has no remorse for how he's treated us/me (my husband is his adopted dad and is really detached from him at this point-- so none of this is his issue-- he'd cut all funds and communication off until he came back with apologies, ownership of his behavior, etc)...part of me wants to tell him that but part of me wants to just say outright, I've changed my mind and as of ____, I will no longer be paying for your truck insurance...he won't know why if I just do that but maybe that's ok?

    this is SOOOOO hard...I salute all you ladies...you are my heros!
     
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The value in confronting someone who is treating you badly is that it validates your own understanding of the situation. Either the person you confront will express surprise and ask for clarification, or they will engage in some kind of defensive action.

    Their initiating a defensive action is how you will know confronting them was the right thing to do. It is best to be prepared for the defensive action ahead of time.

    So, that is the primary reason to confront your son, whether in person or through whatever other means of communication you currently have with him ~ even a message on his phone. Though this will give son a heads up? It will, more importantly, help you begin cycling back into healthy behaviors.

    I know how scary this feels. I couldn't believe it, when I first began changing not only my thinking, but my behaviors. But once my thinking changed? I literally could not make myself do what I'd always done. I could not unsee that I was being mistreated.

    I think that once you are sure yourself of this new territory, of this new way of thinking and seeing, you will have no problem communicating your decision to your son.

    I would caution you to maintain your own highest standard of communication when you confront someone who has been mistreating you. You will probably be hearing about what you said for a long time to come, as the defensive person continues to try to blame and assign responsibility for their actions to you.

    Once you do it, JakesMom? It is going to feel like a whole, new day in your life.

    You will know when you are ready. That you are even thinking so differently is a sign of returning health.

    Cedar
     
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seems like most of us on the PE end have had a lot of therapy..........

    I don't believe we have to justify our reasons or explain to someone who actually doesn't care why, only that they get what they want............however, I do think that each case is different which is probably why this ends up being so difficult on us.............there are no rules, no cut and dry tactics that work all the time. What I learned is to take each incident, each situation as it comes and at that point make a decision about it in the moment based completely on what I wanted and what I was willing to do or not do. So, if this time it feels right to you to say, "as of-----I am not paying for your insurance".........then so be it. I would give him a heads up time so he can adjust to the new rules............

    That flexibility in the moment is the opposite of control, which is the hallmark of the enabler..........so in letting our status as an enabler go, we also let go of a lot of control along the way..............we get to show up and be vulnerable, open, ready and right here in the present moment............available to what is in front of us. Sometimes when I didn't know how to respond, or what to do, I would breathe deeply, say a prayer and ask for guidance..............and then show up. I would try to then allow what I was feeling and my intuitive knowledge to lead me through. However, I do believe when we are new at this and trying to figure it all out, it is helpful to have a game plan going in. Something that helped me was to ask myself "what do I want and what am I willing to do without resentment?" That will usually bring some clarity in.

    We bloodied and battered "heroes" are simply parents who put one foot in front of the other under impossibly difficult circumstances ............perhaps we are all heroes in that we survived!!

    Good for you for cutting out the Netflix. I tend to agree with your husband in his assessment of the situation with your son............but I also know how loving him and feeling somehow guilty for real or imagined wrongdoings can keep us tied in for longer then is healthy...........once you stop feeling any guilt in it and you are able to put the ownership on the right shoulders, it gets considerably easier.

    JakesMom, it sounds to me like you have all of your ducks lined up quite nicely actually............you have support, you have your therapist, you are thinking all of it through and asking for help.........you are willing to change when the situation calls for it and make tough choices when necessary.......... and you love your son but want him to grow up and man up.............seems like you just need some encouragement to follow your own instincts and get some tools to move forward. You're doing a good job.

    Oh and if you haven't already, you might want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post............As always, wishing you peace...........
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter knew why I did what I did. There was no reason to talk about it. We had warned her many times before we did it.Do you really want to hear how you MADE him attack you again by provoking him? That's not true...nobody made him do anything...he chose to do it and in my opinion that is violence and pretty high up there on the "whatever-I-do-to-you-for-that-you-deserve-with-no-explanation" list. My daughter never touched me. She broke our rules and the law though and lied and stole...she knew darn well, when we walked in on her drug party, why she was going to be leaving. Do you really think your son needs to have it spelled out for him? He doesn't know? I think he knows but will use "let's talk about it time" as a forum to abuse you and tell you how awful you are and to scare you and/or tell him you'll never see him again (as soon as he needs money, you will hear from him again. Trust me!)

    I try not to give anyone acting like a difficult child a reason to argue. They argue like lawyers and think everything is your fault and then it gives them a free forum to verbally abuse and to threaten you with their disappearance. Or they threaten suicide, which is a pretty common guilt trip and threat among difficult children.

    So in my case, I knew my daughter was not dumb...she knew why. After she left, she would not talk to me for three weeks. When she finally did, the subject did not come up. She knew she couldn't change my mind. I don't think they "discuss" anything with us. They just tell us how horrible we are, no matter what our reasoning is unless they truly believe we mean what we say.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  13. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    If you think paying his way will help him finish things then let me tell you my story.

    My daughter moved out a little over a year ago to live with her grands because she did not want to be responsible for her actions. No drugs only one or two drinking incidences and LOTS of attitude issues. husband and I agreed to continue paying her car payment, car insurance, and cell phone as well as giving my parents 400 a month to offset their costs. She had to agree to attend family therapy. MWM and several others recommended cutting her off and I just couldn't do it. I should have.

    Today she has dropped out of college which we paid for and has moved in with her boyfriend. Our only contact is based around the 140 we have agreed to give her a month. She is driving our car on our insurance and using our cell phone plan. She attended one maybe two therapy sessions and then never went again. On multiple occasions we have been verbally abused via phone or in person. She shows no remorse and generally doesn't initiate contact unless she wants something.

    In most cases this is no different than the little amount of contact people have with the children they have cut off. The only major difference is that husband and I are going in debt and struggling to pay bills. She on the other hand has finally gotten a job and drained her savings account. Life is good for her and I have 300 to live on for the next two weeks.



    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
     
  14. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Thanks, I needed to hear that!....I have made some decisions this weekend-- I'm not meeting him for breakfast to give him $20 in gas money because he refused to go to therapy and I'm just sick of him trying to act like the 'victim'...and I'm not going to pay his truck insurance anymore....it's paid for this month so I just have to get up the nerve/strength to tell him he's paying next month!...;-)....since my parents have totally taken his lies as truth and said 'so what' that he grabbed and shook their daughter, I provoked him....I haven't even offered to pay them money...I did offer him to help pay for an apartment because if he's ever going to get better, it's not going to be in their house!...I know that from personal experience...
    sorry to hear about your finances though....I hope you're going to find the strength to set some boundaries now that she has a job...it's so hard to do-- not only to make the decision to do it but then to communicate it since I/we know that will mean we're going to be verbally abused and told what horrible parents we are because we don't support them!...that reaction is what has made me avoid setting boundaries...and my son knows it and uses that to 'keep me in line'
     
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    DTSC, now is the perfect time to cut her off completely. Let her boyfriend support her or let them flounder.

    difficult children do not appreciate the help we give them. Nor do they grow up because we give them money while they laugh at us for being so gullible and scorn us for being bad parents, which we are not.

    You're giving her a lot of your money that you can't afford...why? She should be paying you back (yeah, I know, in your dreams :) )
     
  16. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I will probably cut her off one thing at a time. The phone contract ends in March so that is first to go.

    I would cut her off on insurance and the car but considering we live 36 hours away it would be difficult. Plus KY requires you to have insurance so if she didn't pay the insurance we would be responsible for any damages.


    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
     
  17. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    "Tell him you've decided this whole thing isn't working for you, and you are thinking about cutting off the money."

    I like that line a lot. It isn't about whether he is or isn't in school. It isn't about whether or not you are a properly loving supportive parent. It isn't about "you don't support me mom look how I am trying mom but you promised mom". Its just...this is n't working for me.

    You are allowed to say that. You are allowed to feel that. You don't have to delve any deeper.

    This isn't working for me.

    Hold that thought tight. Try to take action on it. Good luck.

    Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/com...nt-the-right-thing-to-do.56238/#ixzz2r3xAKrWb
     
  18. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    I like that...I'll try it...thanks for the message
     
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It is helpful to hear the manipulation in the phrases used. We can hear it because we will feel guilty, will feel like what happened with the child is justified by our bad parenting unless we do what they want.

    Hearing the manipulation means just that. You don't need to do anything right this instant. It is helpful though, to hear it for what it is.

    I'm sorry this all has to be so hard. Never forget that it is such a hard thing, to do what we have to do, to see and acknowledge and live in the worlds our difficult child kids have brought us into. For that reason, we really do need to cherish and befriend ourselves. We are under a strange kind of attack. It's going to take everything we know or can learn, to survive it, to accept it.

    It heartbreaking, really.

    And we are so isolated. Traumatized, and isolated. A very hard thing.

    This board is a blessing, a good thing, a place we can heal and learn and learn how to cope. I am so glad we all are here.

    So, that's a good thing. And we have to learn to be so grateful for every good, strengthening thing.

    Cedar
     
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One thing I learned is that when they call with a request or demand or they want something..............say, "I'll get back to you." That gives you a break from the dramatic moment where they are sending you the clear message that YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING. YOU don't need to do anything. If you can create some distance between you and that moment, your brain will recalibrate out of the FOG and you can think clearly in a minute or two. Then it may be good to write a post here or call a friend or do something that will interrupt that moment where you weaken against their manipulation. Once you get your strength back, you can say, "that doesn't work for me." You don't need to supply explanations or justifications. NO is enough. NO is a full sentence. NO.
     
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