Advanced Detachment

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nomad, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    husband got a really BIG gift certificate to a REALLY NICE restaurant. It was a gift from a client.

    We invited a couple we know to join us to this restaurant on New Years Eve

    They have two adult difficult children and have been under a lot of stress lately. I invited them about 2 weeks ago; they were THRILLED and said yes.

    They would NOT have to pay....however, if by some chance due to ordering drinks, dessert and tip it went over, we could split any remainder. husband and I figured "worse case scenario" in our head and if there was a balance and we split would be small. Bottom line, the four of us could go to a fancy restaurant on NYE, have a HUGE dinner and drinks and spend very little money.

    About 30 mins. before we were to leave, she (the wife) called and said that her husband could not go and she wasn't sure she wanted to go. Could we call the restaurant and change our reservation to 2? (I had put a $100 deposit on the reservation).

    The reason why? One her adult kids and his wife did something not too smart. This is going to cause "them" some problems. "Them" not necessarily meaning just the couple themselves, but the parents. (hmmm?).

    They are supporting two adult sons and several grandkids. The strain is over the top.

    In the past...I've sent them Suz's link, the Letting Go poem, recommended books, etc.

    They could NOT go to a FREE fancy dinner on NYE cause they were too depressed. They could not enjoy NYE with friends. They could not take advantage of a really good deal. They were willing to disappoint good friends last minute. WHY? Cause one of these very adult "kids" and his wife made a bone head decision.


    The only GOOD thing is the following day they tell me that they think they might need to look at this differently 'cause they just can NOT do this anymore.

    That was music to my ears.

    All I could think is BOUNDARIES PEOPLE. They are not setting any, their kids don't set any. Although their parents are super intelligent people, well educated with great jobs, they have issues with setting boundaries with these adult "kids."

    husband and I had a lovely time...just the two of us AND there is still plenty of money left over the on gc for us to celebrate again...perhaps Valentine's Day...(just the two of us).

    They are so unaware of words like boundaries and/or detachment (in spite of my best efforts) they have a LOOOONG way to go. I see where you really can't rush these things along....

    If you had a friend just beginning the detachment might you deal with it? If she mentions missing dinner last minute, how would you respond? by the way, she did NOT mention missing dinner...mostly about how down they are...but definitely did talk about the need for change (LOVED this part of it). We only spoke briefly. My thought was that she starting to piece it all together...and I am very tempted to help her along. She knows she can't do this and she needs to change. If your friend approached you like this...what would you be tempted to say?
    Lasted edited by : Jan 2, 2010
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would be reluctant to invest too much in them. Other people's marriages and families are just not something we can ever understand. There is always some sort of dynamic that is alien to us.

    I'd offer limited suggestions when asked, and do my best to not give opinions on what I think would work with them. I just find it hard to get too worked up about other people's shortcomings anymore...
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Witz on this one. You truly cannot really know exactly what is going on in someone elses life. Even if two families have difficult child's, the difficult child's arent going to be the same or react the same in all situations. Some folks have kids who have drug problems, some folks have kids who are in trouble with the law, others have kids who need them for help with their grandkids. It is hard to put one into anothers place.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    I think sending her the poem was good. But basically I think you just need to keep being yourself and keep your own healthy boundaires. Your example may be the only one she has.

    I'm so glad you and husband had a nice evening.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    EXCELLENT point about the example.

    In fact, it has occurred to me that when they see husband and I having to do things that they are not able to do due to being bogged down with- difficult child business so often, that it makes them think/re-think their situation.

    Most likely best to just provide a sympathetic ear. Perhaps offer suggestions if and only if asked.
  6. Bean

    Bean Member

    It was nice of you to offer, and it was unfortunate that they could not go. Without assuming too much into knowing their circumstances, I have a bit of sympathy for them. I understand detachment and everything, but who knows what's going on in their homes or when things started. Sometimes issues arise with adult children, and not in the teen years. When you bring grandkids into the mix, it changes the dynamics, too.

    Sounds like they could use some support and grace. It is good you have made this connection with them.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    It is more complicated and heartbreaking due to the grandkids.

    Unless she was leaving out information (always a possibility) the situation at hand as far as New Year's Eve went, would not influence the grandkids. Going out would have been a much needed relief. It would not/shoudl not have caused any other problems on the homefront. But, the two of them (particularly the husband) were despondent and almost paralyzed by new information they had just received about yet another unwise decision on the part of one of their children.

    It was just more of the same old "stuff." Poor decisions made by one of the kids that would have future repercussions. Their adult "children" tend to do this. And their parents have helped repeatedly in major ways and they are exhausted. They were very upset to the point of "sick."

    I have so been there done that. And yes, I do feel sorry for them. We have had conversations about it all many times in the past.

    Especially since what happened was not an emergency, it was a great opportunity to have some relaxation time. However, even when they had a chance to get away from "it all," they weren't able to do that 'cause "it all" was following them in their thoughts.

    This, in my humble opinion, is no way to live. Sadly, I too have been there done that. Of course, as her friend, I want more for her. However, all those times we was NOT her time to hear.

    LIke is often the case with our difficult children, she and her husband had to "hit bottom." For some reason, although this situation was not an emergency, it hit them hard....kinda between the eyes. It was more of the they are on a treadmill to no where and they just couldn't take it anymore....hence they could not enjoy themselves at New Years Eve and instead stayed sick in bed.

    I am praying for their strength and wisdom. Their situation is very very confusing, heartbreaking and difficult.
    Lasted edited by : Jan 4, 2010
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Sometimes it is paralyzing to hear something new , even if it is just more of "the same old". Same $#@# , different day - type thing.

    On my birthday my mother arrived at my door. First time in 2 years. No phone call. 8a.m. doorbell rings, there she stands like we talk, communicate, have a relationship, like we'd seen each other in recent times. Worst few hours of my life. Nothing new really, given she is prone to pulling hurtful stunts and it is main reason that I don't see her to begin with. Paralyzed was the word for me. And I'm beyond detached from her. Truly. Yet it truly is post traumatic stress related. It was a trigger. I was shell shocked almost.

    I had plans to go out that day with my aunt and cousin. Only relatives I have really, it was my birthday gift from them. I had to call to cancel. I was a emotional mess. My aunt talked to me on the phone for about an hour. At the end I felt much better, but a rung out rag at the same time. She announced she wasn't letting me ruin my birthday in a bad state of mind over my mother, so she'd be here as planned to pick me up, no arguing allowed. Then she hung up!

    Best gift she could have given me. I dragged my pathetic tush to the shower, got ready, and went out. It was a good choice, best I could have made. The thing is, it was made for me, I wouldnt' have made it without my aunts insight that day. I would for sure have regretted it in later days.

    the thing is, it can be so hard to not have emotional triggers played on. No matter how much we work on ourselves. I'm sorry your friends are struggling. I hope they can find a way to get past it all.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    MM.. What a GREAT story. I am so sorry about your mother. Sad and it sooo reminds me of my difficult child and her antics. So glad your aunt spoke with- you and you found the strength to go out even though you had significant emotional pain to push through.

    Look what your wrote: "Best gift she could have given me. I dragged my pathetic tush to the shower, got ready, and went out. It was a good choice, best I could have made. The thing is, it was made for me, I wouldnt' have made it without my aunts insight that day. I would for sure have regretted it in later days."

    In our case, sadly, I was given only a few minutes and had to change the reservations, plus get in the car to make it to the place myself

    If husband and I didn't get there in time, we would have lost our deposit.

    One thing I do REALLY wish is that she had called me much earlier in the day so that we could have talked through it all and perhaps she would have re-considered or I could have asked someone else in their place. This was all done very last minute. I do not know the timing of it all on her end...but do know she called me 30 mins. before we were to leave our area to get to the restaurant.

    She seems kinda comfortable giving up things/opportunities due to her adult kids and this was a particularly noticeable 'cause there were no emergencies that evening. But I totally "get" the toll and the emotional drain that can occur when our children and adult children continue to make poor decisions.

    My guess...your insight is MUCH better than my friend's....and thank goodness for this.

    It's doubly tragic when this toll causes additional and unnecessary repercussions and this with effort can be prevented .... as you described in your situation. You are AWESOME! Your aunt provided an "assist," by I assure shot the goal!
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a tough one. I'm always tempted to "help" friends like this .. to give them books, talk to them about boundaries/detachment/not enabling, etc. But it can be exhausting. It depends onthe friendship and the individuals involved, of course, but sometimes, I have to simply remove myself from those situations and not try to "fix" those people too... it can become another kind of codependency. I have enough dysfunctional people around me already.