Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, May 25, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I don't usually feel real anger toward difficult child.

    Lately, I can feel it there, burning around the edges of things.

    I'm not afraid of it, I don't find it overwhelming. I suppose it must always have been there. It's as though I no longer feel the need to understand why someone might choose to do as she is doing. No...I think I believe that difficult child has been fighting a battle I cannot imagine, and that she has been fighting that battle all her life. She has told me that the people she is with now understand her. That they don't expect her to be someone she cannot be. That the life she was living ~ working, being married, raising children ~ felt like a desperate charade. That in the normal world, she feels isolated; feels vulnerable and somehow, out of sync.

    Imagine the courage it must have taken to do what difficult child did, then. Against all odds, she pulled herself together, did the right things.

    For a time.

    I feel so badly for her. But I don't know how to change that for her.

    I just don't know how to change it.

    Strange, isn't it.

    I know Recovering will say to practice detachment in this, too.

    Am I coming to terms with what has happened?

    I answered a post this morning in which I likened myself to Quasimodo, pulling something along the stone floor of a dungeon while the bells clanged and the building shook. Quasimodo was in love, too ~ as I love my daughter, with my whole heart. He drew the strength to do what he needed to do from loving her, from holding faith in the self-concept that was born through her belief in who he was, whatever he looked like, whatever anyone else thought.

    But the burden seems pointless, this morning.

    It is a burlap bag.

    Tied shut.

    And...I AM afraid of what's in there.

    Because I think it might be my daughter.

    So I need to stop being Quasimodo.

    I need to stand up. Fling open the church doors and let in the sun, the glorious sun.

    There I will sit, with my daughter. No need to hide anything, anymore. No need to hate her, to be angry with her.

    I don't understand why this happened.

    Now we are in Forrest Gump territory.

    "Why did this happen, Mama?"

    "Life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're going to get."

    But...Forrest came through it.

    He did his adventuring. (And his mama let him do it, forced him to do what he could.)

    And Forrest came through it. Still different, still out of sync, still not quite understanding what was happening to him, or why. (Remember the scene where Forrest pulls his pants down to show LBJ his "wound in the buttocks" on national T.V?)


    And the mother puts her hand on her chest and swoons away?!?

    But she is still so excited, when Forrest comes home.

    So, maybe this is what detachment feels like.

  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think it's detachment, I think it goes beyond that, at least for me it does.......I grew up in a family of mentally ill people all around me, I was the odd man out. I raised 2 girls with "issues" beyond my son in law committed suicide...............I've been surrounded by those society casts out, judges, puts into boxes and forgets..........however, in other cultures when someone is doing cartwheels in their front yard, the neighbors say he is having a spiritual experience........... in other other cultures mental illness as we perceive it doesn't exist, it is accepted in the tribe or culture and those folks are considered special, possessed by spirits, unique, not judged. Believe me, I've had to look at this from a lot of different perspectives in order to feel sane and healthy.

    So, it is what it is, they are who they our culture they are wrong, bad, scary, different, whatever, but not accepted. I've had to learn acceptance, not only detachment, I see detachment as a step into acceptance. Your daughter, like mine, is doing the best she can in a world which will judge her harshly and condemn her quickly. I feel all those feelings you do too, I've had to go through a thousand different experiences in order to come to the conclusion that my difficult child is really doing the best she can..........she lives in a world where her freedom is of utmost importance and she cannot have any limits on that..........certainly that has impacted my life immensely, and I could rail against that forever.............but I don't want to, I want to accept it and be neutral, learn what I can about boundaries so I keep myself safe and healthy and my granddaughter okay.......but I don't want to stay stuck in my own judgments and rightness.........that ends up hurting me and making me feel journey is more about how I can be peaceful and feel joy, in spite of my daughter's lifestyle choices. She is doing her life the way she needs to, I need to do the same.

    I love my daughter, I want her to be happy, but perhaps my perception of happy is not hers. I think everyone wants to feel acceptance, no matter who they are or what they've's difficult to accept what you don't understand or what you can't change or fix or what you perceive as wrong or unsafe or unhealthy..........but, regardless of all of that, and I do feel all of that, I want to be able to accept my difficult child, with all her behaviors and choices which I may deem wrong or selfish or ridiculous or that is what I work on every day. I'm not saying this is the right way, or that I am doing the right thing, this is just what I believe is right for me, everyone has different circumstances and has to come to their own solutions. This is the one that brings me peace of mind, my ultimate goal.

    To separate myself from my family, from all of those who mean so much to me, learn to accept them and let go of trying to fix them or save them has been the work of my life, one by one I've had to let them all go into their own life as I have slowly learned to let myself go into my own life too.

    You don't need to carry your daughter, I don't think she would want that either. I imagine she would want you to be happy, to feel good about your own life, I imagine she could then let go of the guilt of having you so unhappy about her choices. I think that about my daughter too, what a weight it must be to carry my expectations of her.............not to say you have to succumb to enabling her, over giving to her, allowing her to manipulate you, or using you for money, NO to all of that. You take care of you first. That's what I am attempting to do every day. I think that's where freedom lies. She is an entity all by herself, so are you, so am I, so is my daughter, that separation is necessary for all of us to heal and grow.
  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    difficult child has actually said that to me, Recovering. In the past, I have reacted with shock and anger at what I perceived as her disregard for the feelings of those who love her when she puts herself in danger. Somewhere in here, she must have said something similar to me, about the weight of my expectations, about feeling badly when I worry. She actually does say things like, "Mom! I just want you to be happy." (So frustrating!) But, as I hear here all the time, understanding how to do what we need to do, for our children's sakes and for our own, takes time.

    You are further along the path than I am, Recovering.

    But I see that there is a way to go, some way to do this.

    And you are right, about the perception of mental illness in other cultures....

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member proud as I am of Cory and where he has come from where he was, there are things that I have had to learn to simply detach from and I lay those issues strictly on his shoulders or feet or wherever you want to put them. I love him dearly and I know I cannot change who he is going to be. Its pointless for me to ruin the good stuff that is happening because of stuff I cannot change. I just let him worry about his own life after all he is a grown man now. It works mostly the same as Jamie too. I think Jamie has himself in way too much debt but he would have never listened to me about that so I just detached and am proud of his accomplishments.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Oh yes!!! That is exactly what I have realized about raising my children.