Acceptance, the final frontier

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Last night difficult child and I went to look at a rental for her. She has to be out of where she is because the roommate is unpredictable and irrational due to a long term Valium addiction. In my opinion, the rental was perfect, difficult child and the homeowner got along famously, it's a beautiful home with gorgeous gardens, bright light, open floor plan, it would be a safe haven for her and a definite big step up out of the environments she has been living in for the past couple of years. Then the subject of cats arises, four cats are just not going to work.

    Previous to going to look at the rental, she and I were on the phone and she was really upset with me since I said, "this rental may work but the cats will be a problem." I always say that. She told me I just didn't understand that her cats are her family and she is just NOT going anywhere without them. I thought back to the recent therapy session where the therapist and I discussed acceptance. Acceptance is not about what I want, what I think is best, what I would do, what the "right" thing to do is. Acceptance is allowing another to do what they wish without me wishing, hoping, knowing, figuring it out, planning, or doing anything other then recognizing that the other is doing the best they know how and whatever their choice is, it is what it is. We discussed love and the ideal being that when you love someone, you accept who they are, warts and all. It made me think that I have often not accepted my difficult child. Of course, it could certainly be argued that she lives an insane life and I am right in my assessment. But, it is her life, not mine, and even if I think it insane, she is the one who has to live her own truth.

    This has been very hard for me to grasp. My being 'right' has always been uppermost in my mind. However, somehow I got it last night. We were driving home after seeing the rental and she was talking about another place she is going to look at today. Instead of my feeling angry at her for her decision to keep the cats, I realized that she has to live within the world that she has created. What I think of that is essentially irrelevant, it's not my world, it's never been my world. And, I not only felt okay about it, I felt really good. I have to trust that she will find her way. She may be living in her car once again, She may go back to jail. She may get hurt or worse. That is her fate. I've let go. The hardest thing I've ever had to do.

    I woke up today without the usual presence of dread. For a long time, my first thought in the morning has been, "oh God, what is difficult child up to today, is she okay, is she safe, is someone hurting her", on and on it goes, my litany of worry. Let go and let God. That's what all the 12 step programs teach. Somehow in the last 6 months, through all the heartache, all the pain, the endless concern and all that worry, my difficult child slipped into God's hands, a way better place to be then in mine. The weight of her life is now off my shoulders.
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RE what a journey you have been on and I am so inspired by you. I too have come to the realization that the life I want for my difficult child is not the same as the life she wants and when I finally came to terms with that I felt a calmness about the whole thing.

  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I love the "let go and let God" thing. I'm reading a book called, "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott, and in one chapter she says, "It helps to resign as the controller of your fate. All that energy we expend to keep things running right is not what's keeping things running right. We're bugs struggling in the river, brightly visible to the trout below. With that fact in mind, people like me make up all these rules to give us the illusion that we are in charge. I need to say to myself, they're not needed, hon. Just take in the buggy pleasures. Be kind to the others, grab the fleck of riverweed, notice how beautifully your bug legs scull."
  4. RE - Beautifully said. I'm glad you are feeling a sense of peace and calm. I'm glad that you are able to accept that your daughters decisions are hers to make, whether you agree with them or not.

    You really sound like you are in a good place.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's wonderful to be free, isn't it, RE? :)
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm happy for you. I've made progress and eliminated some burdensome people. on the other hand, I hope to find that peace. Hugs DDD
  7. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Love this, RE. This is what I've worked very hard on, as well. It's quite a journey. My children's lives are not what I wanted for them. I disagree with many of their decisions, and at times have been downright baffled, but they are not my decisions to make. I've finally learned to just shake my head, and move past it. My grandchildren's lives aren't what I would want for them either, and the way certain [baffling] decisions affect them has been a little more difficult to accept, and in some ways, more painful. That's been a tougher road, but I'm getting there.
  8. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    I really like what you said. Now if I could just follow it myself. Sometimes I think I have let go but then I get ticked off about some of difficult children decisions that I don't think are the best. I don't tell her that, just keep it to myself.

    Next time, I am going to think of your post and try to relax and calm inside.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you everyone for your kind support.

    Calamity, I have read all of Annie Lamott's books, and just loved Bird by Bird which is one of my favorites. She lives in Marin County about 20 minutes from me and I've seen her in person, she is wonderful.
    Witzend, yes it IS wonderful to be free. It's new but I'm a quick study!
    CrazyinVa, yes it is more painful with the grandkids. Right now I don't have to face that since my granddaughter lives with me. Thank God.

    The last couple of days have been interesting. I haven't spoken to my difficult child so whatever she is up to or not, I don't know about, which works best for me. In the absence of having her be the focus, I have been having more fun and more peace.

    I went into a small local women's shop on Saturday and bought myself a few items. As I was paying for them the thought occurred to me that for most of my adult life I have thought to hold back on spending money on myself since difficult child, granddaughter, mother, sister, SOMEONE, will need MY money because THEIR needs are paramount to mine. Well, I didn't have that thought and I happily purchased stuff for myself. So, my thinking is changing too. My internal dialogue isn't all about difficult child, it is moving into being about ME.

    I am home from work early, by 1:30 or so, and now instead of my afternoons being about handling difficult child stuff or granddaughter stuff, I am FREE. difficult child is in her life doing whatever and granddaughter is driving now which means that half my life isn't being a chauffeur. All of a sudden, I have more money, more time, more brain power since my mind isn't preoccupied with coming up with endless ideas to save my difficult child from herself and more energy to go do things I want to do. Yikes.

    I think about difficult child, but not to the extent I have. I am not ruminating about her life, I am living in mine. What a difference. I still have my weekly codependency therapy support group which I can continue in for as long as I need to. I still have therapy. There may be snags and 'relapses' but I think I'm on a new track. I'm feeling very, very grateful right now.
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Oh, this was just what I needed to hear, today. And I didn't even know it! Thank You! :O)
  11. Mouser

    Mouser New Member

    Dear Recoveringenabler-
    Thanks for your encouraging posts. My life has been "on hold" for three years because of my 18 yr old son. I just found this website today and your posts are like food for a starving person.