A big thanks, a short update, and a little encouragement

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by cakewalk, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    The day I found this site was the lowest point of my life, dealing with a very angry 16 year old who had left my home (against my wishes) and moved in with my sister. I reached out to complete strangers on the PE Board and was welcomed with compassion, empathy, advice, and encouragement.

    Fast forward the tape five years: difficult child is in his final year of college. He sees a counselor on an as-needed basis (crisis counseling). He has not smoked pot in 9 months, but does drink a lot of beer. Our relationship is solid and stronger than ever! He has a great job and has been employed 2 1/2 years with the same employer. He is slowly rebuilding his relationship with easy child; easy child is the one who is hesitant. difficult child and my husband get along nicely. I have no idea what difficult child's relationship is with my sister and the extended family; I don't care to know.

    To all PE long-timers: THANK YOU. I swear I would not be here today without you. I had given up and honestly didn't think I could make it one more day. Your understanding and compassion allowed me to take a deep breath, get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and continue the struggle of dealing with the incredible stress and heartbreak of ODD and it's destruction.

    To those new to the PE Board: Stay strong. Don't quit. The lowest time of your life that brought you to this board will pass. (Notice I didn't say soon or quickly... it took almost five years for a sense of normalcy to return for me.) It really does get better! Although it doesn't seem possible, you really will adjust, defeat, conquer, move-on, heal, learn, accept, harden, etc. Whatever emotions you need to get you through this very difficult, hellish (can I say that?) time, you will find!
    • Like Like x 4
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • List
  2. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    Cakewalk, Wow! That's great news, and so encouraging too. How did your difficult child work his way out of his issues so that he could finish college and maintain employment? I would imagine that at some point HE decided to make better choices for himself, but what brought him to that point? Do you think he matured with time, or did he hit the proverbial "bottom"?

    My oldest difficult child is 20, flunked college, lost many jobs (but is currently keeping a good one), abused drugs and alcohol, and was even jailed recently. He thinks rebellion is cool, as well as guns, knives, cigarettes, an unkempt appearance, and foul language. He is also engaging in very promiscuous behavior and likes to use others to get what he wants from them. So, we are in the thick of it, for sure.

    I do hope one day to be able to report back to the board, as you have, that things have turned around. I am so very happy for you and also thankful that you took the time to share your good news.
  3. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Stress Bunny, Oh my. I remember those days (in which you are now dealing with your 20 year old) too well. I am sorry that you are in the thick of it right now.

    My difficult child failed classes and was almost expelled his freshman year for plagiarism. Last year he failed a drug test for his collegiate sport jeopardizing his scholarships. He came "thisclose" to being arrested multiple times but he is a very fast runner. Yes, he literally out-ran the police on numerous occasions. My son was involved in a very serious car accident (his fault) a few years ago. I received the call from my sister that he was being brought to the hospital by ambulance with a severe head injury. I hung up the phone, told easy child about his brother, and asked him to go with me. easy child hugged me and said, "I'm sorry, Mom. I really don't want to go. Sorry." (Wow! What a statement.) I was the last family member notified and the last family member to arrive to the hospital. I was an outsider in difficult child's life.

    At that moment, I realized that difficult child's poor decisions were his. I didn't have any say in his life since he left home and I certainly shouldn't carry the weight of his consequences. I only heard from my son only when he needed something and I had dreaded every call. I stopped reaching out to him. When he called, I listened to his dilemma and would say, "I'm sorry that happened. What are you going to do?" I didn't offer to fix, pay, or handle things... I just listened. When he asked for advice, I offered just a nudge in the right direction but leaving the decision and outcome his to decide. I basically removed myself from his life as he had removed me years ago.

    Last Thanksgiving was the first holiday difficult child had been home since 2009. Apparently while I was out of the room, easy child sternly and without any provoking threatened difficult child with, "You wanted to be a big boy, a tough guy... Fine! Be big and tough but leave Mom out of your poor decisions and garbage life. I'm not kidding. Stop involving her or I will make it stop!" (easy child had shared that with my husband later in the week. Neither of my sons have told me that directly.)

    Yes, difficult child matured. Yes, he hit rock bottom multiple times. My sister believes that difficult child, her children, and all the little children of the world are perfect. difficult child finally realized her parenting style of sticking her head in the sand and pretending everyone an angel just allowed him to do more harm to himself and his life. What originally he ran TO, he eventually ran FROM. I also think difficult child respects his brother's opinion more than any of us thought. And, my Supermom-save-the day days are over! Now difficult child calls to tell me how he handled or avoided a crisis or situation and a lot of times just to say hello!

    There is no easy fix, if any. It's a process; a long and painful, never-ending (for some) process. I remember how I felt the first day I posted; it was the darkest time of my life. I am truly sorry for anyone in that place right now.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    What a beautiful, hopeful, strengthening post to us! Thank you so much. I love it that you remembered to tell us it is a process, that there are no quick fixes.

    You explained your own change process clearly and concisely ~ this is priceless to us, as we struggle to know whether letting go is the right thing, and how much advice to give.

    An excellent post. Again, thank you so much. One day, I hope to be posting with the same kinds of successes you have reported.

    Good job, Mom!


  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Cakewalk, a wonderful, positive, real post which is beneficial to all of us to know there are healthy outcomes out there. THANKS!