An update. Good, and not that good.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by in a daze, May 30, 2015.

  1. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    So our guy's doing better in some ways. The meltdowns about people at work and the residents of the house he lives at are way down. He talked about saving money. He talks about getting a second job. He says he applied to this agency where he used to do event security. He has come down a few times to help us move furniture and do yard work for extra cash. This is a change from the slug we used to know. He's applied for a few different jobs and updated his resume. He's got more energy. He lost his license and took the bus and walked 20 minutes to the DMV to get a new one! All by himself! (lol) The new medication seems to be having an effect.

    However, he called me on Wednesday. He's sooo anxious. He didn't go to work. He's got this thing where he can't sleep, then wakes up and then his mood is so down he calls off work. Then mood improves as the day goes on. This diurnal mood variation and insomnia was addressed at the last p doctor appointment. medication adjustments are still being made. Part of the problem is that he HATES his boring, repetitive job at the grocery store. He says it gets better after 2 hours on the job.

    So I told him that he was anxious because he was afraid of losing his job. He concurred. For some reason, he hasn't been written up or warned. I told him to get the social service employment agency people involved if necessary. I told him he was to go into work and be on time, no excuses. His dad and I go to work when we are not feeling well, why shouldn't he?

    He sent me a text next day that he was trying to turn it around at work, and that he was going to go to the health club every day.

    He has been alluding to the fact that one week he was eating ramen noodles, and that he was losing weight. He asked me to take him shopping for groceries.

    I'm afraid I'm going to cave in and shield him from the consequences of not going to work. I hope I don't.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Hey there, daze. It's very nice to hear from you, again.

    Oh, that's great, about your son texting that he is taking hold, again. When I don't want to do something, I tell myself I am going to get ready, just in case I do go. Then, I tell myself I am gong to drive or begin the process of getting myself to work, just in case I do go in the door. Then, I go in the door, just in case I do want to go to work.

    Fighting those feelings of not wanting to go to work is futile, for me. But if I break the whole thing up into little pieces? I actually enjoy all the things I am going to do today instead of going to work. In my imagination, I do. And I have the luxury of time and a day off the whole time I am really showering for work.

    No one wants to go to work.

    I never even want to go for volunteer work ~ and I don't have to do that, and could miss every single day if I wanted, and there would be nothing they could do to me!

    And I still don't want to do it, pretty much every time.

    Think that might help your son, to look at it that step by step way?

  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi IAD, good to hear from you. Your post is pretty positive, there are many good things happening for your son.

    My thoughts are that he is in the middle of the medication adjustments, if he is aware that after 2 hours he feels better, you might emphasize that he only has to get through those 2 hours and then he is okay. The other thought I had is that his hatred for his job may be the actual normal dissatisfaction we all feel when we are ready to make a change. He may be ready to move to a more responsible job. Given his anxiety issues, that must be a difficult place to be, wanting to leave the present job, but anxiety about leaving the present job. Perhaps it's a catch 22 for him. Going to the health club and working out will do wonders for his depression and anxiety, as you likely know, there is much information about how exercise helps immeasurably with both.

    How are you doing IAD? Do you feel better now that he is moving towards more independence?
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  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi IAD,

    RE and Cedar offer great advice. Something I would add is that if he hates his current job at the supermarket, but they seem to be quite patient with him, perhaps there's a different job at the same market that he could apply for. That way, he has the advantage of working in a familiar environment, but in a more challenging position.
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  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Hi Daze, it is great to hear how things are going for you. Overall they sound really positive! It sounds like he is taking responsibility for his challenges and respecting your input and taking appropriate steps to work things out. I like Jane's idea about maybe moving to a different area or seeing about taking on some additional job duties to mix things up a little bit.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Unless he is well educated, he isn't going to get a highly challenging job. However, he may not like his job, but I'm sure he likes his paycheck. And maybe he likes the people he works with. There is more reason to work than to be broke again. I assume he is on his own so he NEEDS the job. And at least he knows what he's doing there. If he have any influence over him, I'd just make an offhanded comment like, "You may want to hang in there until you find another job" in a cheerful way and then drop the topic.
  7. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Haha, yes, Cedar!

    Your suggestion that he break things into steps is excellent. We/his case worker are trying to convey this to him as he gets very overwhelmed and anxious.

    Yes, he says he's applied for training. Hasn't heard anything.

    Well, I was more blunt then that. I told him "You need to get up and go to work every day. No excuses. You need to be on time. " His uncle talked to him too, and told him something along those lines. He seems to be listening, we'll see.

    Recovering, I'm doing better and I've gotten to the point where I've decided that I am going to not let his mood or his actions or whatever is going on with him affect my life. At least I'm going to try.You are all setting such a good example to me and others on how to have a happy and fullfilling life despite the negative reverberations of your difficult adult kids. And I see my therapist every three weeks or so. It's so worth the copay!

    Today Difficult Child is a little anxious because one of the guys in charge of the house relapsed, but he is working on getting a disability letter from the MD and voc rehab and working on his resume so he can apply for this federal job. So he's not doing too bad right now.
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi IAD, all in all it sound pretty positive. One of the hardest things about medications is getting the right one and the right dosage. How wonderful that you are offering emotional support and blunt encouragement. Like Cedar said, no one wants to go to work.

    How awesome that he took care of getting his license without any assistance. That really says a lot.

    I think it's good that he's a "little" anxious about the guy that relapsed opposed to having the attitude that will never happen to me. It really shows some good awareness on his part.

    I'm glad you are doing well and thanks for sharing this.
  9. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi IAD, I read your post a couple of times and I see a lot of positive things! That is so great, when we can see progress. Like Al-Anon says, progress not perfection.

    It's not going to be perfect.

    I know it's hard to listen to a kid being hungry, but he's got food, maybe just not the food he wants. He has a job, maybe just not the job he wants. He is feeling better, just not all the way better...yet.

    I have found that with my son, many of these things are true as well. I hear him talk about wanting a better job, to go back to school, to have better clothes, he's tired, he doesn't know if his paycheck will stretch to buy food now that he and his girlfriend have broken up---she had the food stamps they used.

    This is key for me: Now is not the time to jump in. This is the kind of life lesson they must learn and learn how to cope, just like you and I did a long time ago.

    Needing to work is a very important part of it. Needing to work because if they don't, they have no place to live, no electricity, no shower, no bed to sleep in, no car to drive, nothing.

    That is important for all of us in life. We need to have to do things we don't want to do.

    What about YOU? If it's too hard to hear the daily stuff of it all, go to every other day talking to him. My son just started working out too. I think this is huge positive sign. He can't afford a gym so he is lifting weights at home. Believe me, I started thinking about buying him a gym membership. No Mom, don't do that!!! I told myself. Let him deal with life.

    I know it's hard, but when you just can't stand it, come here and talk to us about it. Instead of acting. Feel your feelings, but don't think they are facts. Separate your feelings from your actions.

    We are sooooooo hopeful when there is positive change. We want soooooooo much to support it. By doing nothing except offering encouragement and love, we are providing the kind of support they truly need.

    Hang in there! I see progress!
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  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    this is such a key thing for all of us to remember...most of us had or still have jobs that were unpleasant, but we did them because we had to do them. For some reason when our difficult child's complain about their jobs or their lives we all seem to have a tendency to think something must be done, instead of remembering or acknowledging that THAT IS WHY IT IS CALLED WORK AND THAT IS WHY YOU GET PAID. Its like we engage in the fog when they start that talk.

    Hold that is work because we need money to live. Better work comes with time and effort. All of that is in the control of our Difficult Child's...not in our control. ONly our own work is in our control.

    Good luck today, everyone!

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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That was my thinking. And my son did work, because I pushed him. And he held that fairly responsible job for over a year.

    My son did not conform to the requirements of the job. His symptoms came to be stronger than his desire to maintain it. Others might say it was a question of ability, not choice. I guess it comes to not matter.

    Right or wrong, I have felt sometimes that he chose to some extent, to express his distress rather than to seek to remedy it.

    He kept making this choice again and again, coming to define himself by his issues, anxieties, rather than by strengths or strength of purpose.

    He qualified for SSI. And lost the need to work. We see this money as enabling, but of course, we do not get a vote.

    Without the need to conform to the requirements of a job, to go to a job situation that is lousy, my son lacks this important motivator to change. He chooses self-indulgence, because he can.

    Of course others see things differently than do I. And see factors such as disability whether of character or illness, as limiting, and do not see my son as having free choice. Thus far, I have not let go, my hope that my son will find in himself the where with all to see his options as greater than he does now.

    What helps is letting it go. Knowing that the doing or not doing has not whit to do with me.

    The hard part, though is that we speak different languages...about life.

    Everything I ever got in life I got because my life was lousy, and intolerable. And I wanted more. I cannot remember one thing I wanted (except perhaps a husband, and I never got one) that was not motivated by overcoming or absolute need.

    My son cannot understand why I do not understand how he feels and why I do not give ultimate importance to his feelings.

    And I am unable to get him to understand that feelings are not necessarily the defining thing. Responsibilities are, to self and others. Including work. And if we give ourselves a chance, taking on and meeting responsibilities can help us change.

    There is nobody anymore to whom to make this speech. He really is not interested. And I understand, it is not my business. And to go on and on may in fact be cruel.
  12. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    that is the thing that is confusing for us all. We assume that they will "see the light" which is a normal part of growing up...for toddlers and often for adolescents it is all about their seems to us to be a natural part of growing up to transition away from that. We did it. Other kids do it. It seems a core part of Difficult Child dom to not make that transition.

    Very hard thing to see, Copa, but very true. I hope and believe that the pain this realization brings you has the benefit of helping you move along your way. There is nobody to make this speech to anymore. He is not deaf (this is my tattoo (fantasy...although I have real tattoos...but I'm not telling). He has heard you. He doesn't believe you/value this/care/cannot. Saying it again won't help. I know you know. I am repeating it to bolster you and all of us.

  13. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Thanks, COM. Cedar also relates that giving in to them is as much to make US feel better as it is to help them, but in the long run we end up hurting them.

    And I'm sure I'll be posting again about another crisis (they seem to be fewer apart). I appreciate this. You guys are so supportive.

    Either to never make the transition, or to make it years and years later.
  14. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Hi guys, he's coming over tomorrow. He said he's short of money. He says he's been going to work since I talked to him last week. So he'll be caught up next paycheck, if he keeps going to work.

    I have a rose bush I need him to plant. It's in the front and the soil is very rocky and hard to dig. I have some weeding. After that I told him I have no more for him to do.

    So that's it....He talked to his dad today and dad was giving him advice about his chronic sleep problems as my husband is going to university sleep clinic for his insomnia. Father and son are getting along so much better, better than t hey have in years. I'm taking a back seat. I'm really burnt out by year's of dealing with Difficult Child.

    I'm just so leery of enabling him. Maybe in the back of his mind he's thinking that he can always do a few chores for the parents if he doesn't feel like going to work one day. I suspect that he's going to push the envelope as much as he can get away with, not enough to get fired, but he can sense the culture of the place he works at and knows how much he can get away with. Ugh....
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am leery of enabling, too. It feels so right to offer help or advice and its hard to know where that line is between conversing and advising. I've been trying to find that neutral point, that place between breaths feeling, and to take my emotional tone from there.

    On my clumsier days, I remember: Sit on my lips. Worry is a fast get away on a wooden horse. Sit with the feelings. I don't know, either. If the situation is something I have direct experience of, I can say what I did.

    And then I have to stop.

    I remind myself that they are strong, beautiful human beings and that their paths are their own, and that I am just their mom.

    Just their mom, not their savior.

    I think we will always feel echoes of the past with our troubled kids. It was a scary time. When we didn't hear from them then, it was because they were in bad, bad trouble. Now when we don't hear, it is because they are establishing independence, and it is crucial that that happens for all of us.

    We need to learn to be independent, too.

    So, to counter all of that, and to make myself brave, I tell myself the same things I have been telling the kids, and that is working for me. That they are bright, strong, admirable characters, which is actually true, and that they can do this. I am learning to describe myself with those same kinds of words.

    This is an important point for me.

    We are mothering ourselves out of the trauma of what has happened to all of us, too. And here is a secret thing I am learning: We cannot enable ourselves, either. SWOT posted something the other day that she does not get to cheat, around certain issues. That rings true for me around the issue of enabling.

    We don't get to cheat.

    We have to be really committed to not enabling and we have to watch for it in our listening.

    It seems to me that we develop bad go-to parenting responses when the kids are in the kinds of crisis modes our kids have been in, one way or another, for so long. So during this part of our parenting journey, we are reteaching ourselves correct response. That is how I am looking at it. Correct response would include things like joy and fulfillment when we hear from them, but not relief because we heard from them. It is a hard thing not to assess their drug use status, or whether they are in some economic or parenting or relationship challenge from their voices instead of just being happy to hear their voices. It is hard to teach myself not to listen in those old ways. I'm thinking that has to do with staying in the present moment, and with believing we can do this, and with refusing to not trust them now, whatever the past taught us. That takes a kind of courage, a kind of faith in ourselves and our kids. It does for us, because we have had to listen so closely in the past to hear the truth beneath the words we all were using to communicate. "I love you." meant some version of "I'm in trouble and you need to fix it." I have the word "NO" now. But I can still slip into listening in those old ways.

    So that is where I am working to change my enabling pattern. In my listening. When I can do that, the parameters change and the conversation trends in a different direction.

    And the funny thing is, I miss that in a way.

    When that happens, I try to remember to be gentle with myself because I am learning how to do this, too.

    But I don't get to cheat.

    I don't get to enable.

    It's working pretty well, I think. I am not hearing the blood and guts part of anything having to do with their lives, these days. There will even be a place in our conversations where I go silent. Or they do. A place where I make room for a different, and healthier response. It's hard to do that because I don't know, most of the time, what that response could possibly be. So, it's been an awkward process. We are all learning to think differently. It's a version of empty nest syndrome, in a way. Only for so many of us, we are in the position that those eagles whose chicks would not leave the nest are. The eagles took the nest apart from the bottom. Remember that story? We are determined like that too, to make the right things happen for our own chicks to be strong, and to fly into their own lives as they were meant to.

    I've been a needed mom, a vital pivotal point. We should all have grown beyond that as the kids became their own vital pivotal points but for us, and for so many of us here, there were addictions or illnesses that made that impossible.

    We are doing that, now.

    So we don't need to feel guilty or sad. This is the best possible thing that could happen for the kids. I am glad I know the concept "enable". I am developing an idea, a set of descriptors, for when I am doing that. So I think we will all get through this time when we are changing the meanings of the words we use to communicate with one another, too. That is a good way to describe enabling for me. How am I naming the feelings. But not just the bad feelings. The good feelings, too. And part of learning not to enable is to just sit with those, too. Here again, we have all had to learn that bad things come next, when things are going well.

    But it seems to me that we are all doing pretty well with everything.

    It's hard to know how to not judge ourselves all the time, to not be trying to feel our ways toward the best "solution".

    So, that's where I am with enabling.

    Mostly, I don't get to cheat in my listening.

  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think this is a good idea IAD. You've worked really hard for your son. He's doing well. He and his Dad are developing a connection now. It's time for you to take a back seat.

    As you step back, refrain from taking any action. Wait. In the time spent waiting, often the enabling tendencies subside.

    The thought that it is time to "take a back seat" to me, is an indicator of health and a step in a new direction. Perhaps have a family meeting with your husband and daughter enlisting their support in you taking a back seat, so all family members are aware of how you feel and they can now step in when necessary. You might want to communicate that to your son and his case workers too. You deserve this break.