Angry.....difficult child and Fallout.....Venting


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I'm angry.

This is a safe place in this forum, so I'm choosing to vent here.....trusting that it is safe. I'm feeling angry and askew in my perspective right now.

difficult child is still in rehab (Day 3) and I am glad for that. So let me just put that out there first.

BUT........ Just received a call from the rehab facility that we need to pay our $875 co-pay right now, today. I replied, "It's a 5-day co-pay total and he hasn't even been in there 5 days yet." (his last rehab attempt as 6 months ago and lasted 2 days). Now OF COURSE, I hope he finishes rehab! But the tone of the woman on the phone was blunt, to say the least.

And suddenly a flood of PTSD-ish memories washed over me. Like the THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars we have paid out for help for him over the years to no avail. Meanwhile, the night before he left for rehab, he revealed to me that as a meth dealer he was making $5600/day. Nice. I don't make $5600/day and never will. And I went to college (on student loans which took me 10 yrs to pay back), and get up for work in the morning, and never got, not once.

But here I am, still forking out big bucks for him to "consider" trying. I have felt so Zen-like and strong and healthy in my perspective. Having a lapse of perspective this afternoon and my "Zen" done got up and gone.

Good time to whip out my "There is no Sanctuary" blurb from Logan's Run. It'll make me laugh later, but not quite yet. I'm still stewing.

I'm reminded of all of the times people would make it quite clear that our difficult child must have his problems because we were sucky parents. Uh hunh. Thanks for that. One probation officer once said right to me, "Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Uh hunh.... THANKS FOR THAT.


Geez, it feels good to vent in here! Sooooo many more memories I could dredge up, but you get the gist.

difficult child......... The gift that keeps on giving.

Now, having had my little tirade, I feel a little better. And I know it'll pass (passes more quickly than it used to...I'm learning). I'll probably feel a ton better tomorrow morning. A good sleep has a profound effect on me. Fortunately, it's a saving grace that I can usually sleep soundly at night no matter what happened. I'm thankful my body just takes me there, even when my mind won't. I really do sleep like a log.

Last night while letting our dog out for his last "deed" for the evening, a sizable, winged bug flew into the house. I was surprised to see that he let me scoop him up and put him outside (I try not to kill spiders, bugs, etc.....for me, all life is sacred....unless, of course, it's me or them! LOL!). Anyway, I was very gentle with this bug. And I came back inside and wished, so deeply, that I could always be as gentle with my difficult child. Today at work (I work in Special Education), I was dealing with an 18-yo autistic boy who wanted me to hold his head often (not unusual). I was reminded of how gentle I was with the bug last night. How gentle I want to be with our difficult child.

But sometimes "gentle" isn't the answer. It's the preferred answer, but it's not always the "stand firm" answer. I'm short (4'11"), but I have a very loud/strong voice and can be very feisty in spirit. I love my gentle, but I also love my feisty. The trick is knowing when to use which.

All righty, then. Thanks for the "vent". No more words. Except to say that I'm guessing some of you can relate to a whole bunch of pieces of what I said. And though I'm sorry we all feel this at times, I'm grateful we are not alone in it, at least.

Always try to end on a note of gratitude. But, I tell ya, man, some days are a challenge!

Thanks for listening... Feeling a little better already.


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Hi there. I wanted to tell you that I hear you and also that it was a while before I realized you adopted your son at age six. That's interesting. I have four adopted children. One I don't list because he totally wants nothing to do with our family so he may as well not be in it. It just hurts to put down the name of a grown adult child you raised from age six to adulthood who decided you aren't his family. I haven't seen him in years and suspect I never will. But that opens me to talk about adopting older children and attachment issues. I have to assume you are aware of attachment disorder, which is basically exactly what antisocial personality disorder is, only it is caused because of lack of warmth, caring and structure in the first three years of life. It speaks to early chaos and instability and is VERY hard to treat. And most psychiatrists miss it, although with a six year old adoptee, you'd think they'd be wiser, but they aren't. They miss it all the time. I've been friendly with the same adoptive parents for over twenty years and almost all of the children adopted older than infancy are in trouble and have all sorts of issues, and the older they are adopted the worse the problems are.

Anyone who tells you "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is ignorant. If they say it in YOUR case, they are triple ignorant. You did not help form this child's personality. It had already been formed by all of his caregivers before you even got him. He learned to mistrust and be insecure and even hate well before you were able to love him and love can not and does not cure attachment disorder all the time. I've read a few books written by attachment disordered kids who honestly did see how much their parents loved them in the end. It is more common that they don't and continue to live the chaos they knew in their early years. Also, nurture is great, nature is stronger. Our adopted kids tend to be more like their biological parents than us, even if our children never met their relatives. There is nothing about this situation that has anything to do with you. Your son was damaged way before you got to know him. I've adopted two kids who were older than two. And the two year old doesn't have attachment disorder only because his drugged up birthmother walked out on him from the get go and he had only one and very stable foster home before he came to live with us. So he did not ever live in chaos, although drugs were in his system at birth. Did your son have drug exposure while his birthmother was pregnant? That is another issue that's not on you. Alcohol? I digress. Sorry I got off track.

Both of my older adoptees were very troubled, but in different ways. I don't list the child I adopted at 11 either because the adoption was undone after he sexually acted out (for a few years...yes years) on my two younger adopted children (don't want you to think all adopted kids are bad...not true. The two youngest are great). The 11 year old left at age 13. He had no choice. As soon as we learned what he'd done, he was gone...couldn't risk the younger kids any further. He was tried and found guilty in a court of law for sexual abuse of a minor although he was only thirteen. They were more than six years younger than him so, in the eyes of the law, he was an adult. His diagnosis at the rehab center for young sexual predators was "Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder." I can only imagine what he's like today. Only I don't want to know. by the way, it was not OUR idea to take him to court. We just wanted him out of the house. He was prosecuted by the County. We had no control and did not go to the court proceeding.

I have to say that this kid put on an "I-am-an-angel" act to all adults and his psychiatrist told us he was a great kid, which is why we adopted him at such an old age. But he sure scared kids...they never told on him until he was long gone.

I guess my point is that THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! I get angry enough when people assume we were lousy parents to biological kids or kids adopted at birth, but to actually say that to the parent of a child who didn't come into his/her life until six???? REALLY???? Do they know ANYTHING at all about child development? If not, why are they in careers that deal with children!? The first three yars of a chld's life are implanted on their brains forever.

Sorry. I hope my vent didn't make you feel worse. That wasn't my intent. I just wanted you to know that I get as angry as you do about the finger pointing. In your case, it is beyond absurd. When we adopt older children we did not raise them during some extremely early, important developmental years and often they are damaged way before they get to us. I think you did a great job. At least he hasn't walked out on your completely or sexually abused other children.

Wear that warrior mom medal proudly. I don't know if you have information on his birth family or what may have happened to him in his foster homes before you came into his life, but perhaps he has inherited some issues from his biological family.

Being honest, I would never adopt a child older than an infant ever again. My young, young adopted kids are great. They have bonded. My two older child adoptions were complete failures and my heart was broken twice. Hugs and more hugs!!!!
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I totally get the frustration and the anger. It comes over me in waves. It happens less than before, but it still knocks me on my butt sometimes. I am by nature a very nurturing and giving individual. My greatest joy has been raising my kids. It kills me that my youngest only responds to a hard line drawn in the sand. It cuts to the very core of me when I have to deal with him in tough love mode.



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MWM -- No, your vent didn't do anything but help validate my feelings. Thanks for that! :)

My view is that there is Nature, Nurture, and Free Will. Nature is the foundation, so I believe it takes precedence for the basics. Of course, Nurture plays a huge role, too. And the one we as a society tend to forget about is Free Will. I guess Nature and Nurture are easier because we can blame someone else for every action, rather than ourselves. I think it's a combo of all 3.

Adoption -------- Well, I know a BUNCH about adoption. I AM ADOPTED (as an infant). OUR difficult child IS ADOPTED (as a 6-yo). I met my bio family (still meeting them -- have met dozens and dozens) and I have met many of difficult child's bio family (probably 2 dozen, as well). I starting meeting my bio family when I was 25 yrs old. I began meeting difficult child's bio family when he was 13 or so. I'm tellin' ya, NATURE TALKS -- louder than I knew (I grew up knowing zero Nature, remember). difficult child told me that his cousin is currently wanted for a murder that happened at a hotel here last week. Nice. Another of our difficult child's relatives was tazed to death (at age 29) 2 yrs ago. Sad situation, I liked the guy.

I view Nature as Hard wiring, Nurture as Software installed, and........well, can't think of a good "systems" analogy for Free Will yet. If you think of one, feel free to let me know. :)

by the way, both my birth mother and birth father are professional writers. I come from a bio family of artisans (painters -- I also paint, writers -- I also writer, musicians -- I'm tone deaf though!, etc). My birth family has much better hard wiring, but there are problems -- addiction and anxiety seem prevalent. Criminal behavior in either my birth family or my adoptive family is rare.

But our difficult child's bio family has much more difficult hard wiring........ Schizophrenia, Bipolar, ASPD, Addiction, etc. Criminal behavior in difficult child's birth family is commonplace. In fact, it's more common than not -- especially the men. I tried to know them. Tried to be kind, helpful, respectful. But it just is not easy to be with them as they are hardened felons and we do not share the same ethics. We just don't. Now, I don't think criminal behavior is hard wired. However, when grappling with sufficient mental health difficulties (NATURE) -- AND -- abusive upbringing (NURTURE)-- AND -- bad choices (FREE WILL)......criminal behavior can happen.

But I don't think it has to. My husband's brother was diagnosed psychotic and bipolar for decades. He never chose crime. We were his legal guardians the last 8 yrs of his life. He died in 2007 (age 57) of liver cancer, thought to be attributed to his 30+ years of prescribed lithium use. Sad it took him soon, but it did give him a better life for 30 yrs (subsequent medications didn't work as well). I adored him -- he was out of touch with reality, but I so loved him and respected him. Really. His core shone through his difficulties. I miss him and we often drink a milkshake toast to him on holidays and his birthday. A good man, who had a difficult biology.

MWM -- You write some terrifically-insightful posts and pose great questions. I appreciate that. And I'll tell ya must have some fantastically-large heart for adopting so many kids! I admire that because just our one difficult child 'bout did me in!


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P4 --- Yep, it sure can knock me on my butt, too! Our greatest joy has not been raising our son. There were many joyful moments, but also many painfully brutal moments with police, etc. Our greatest joy has been being grandparents to our difficult child's son. We never had a child below the age of 6 (difficult child adopted at age 6), so this is our first go-'round with kids younger. Our grandson is nearly 4 and such a joy! Interestingly, we have remained close with our difficult child's ex-girlfriend (very close -- what a gem she is!) and have, by extension over the last 5 years, grown very close to all of her large family. We are invited to play "honorary grandparents" most every week now as our grandson now has 3 cousins all younger than him. So our lives are filled with beautiful babies these days, and I am very thankful for that!

We love our difficult child's just been such a long, hard haul.

P4 --- by the way, I notice you worked in Special Education, too. I so thoroughly enjoy it (most days, anyway!). I rarely leave work without being inspired and thankful. It's a good reminder now, while I write this........ Sometimes when working with non-verbal kids (as today was), I am reminded what their parents wouldn't give to hear just one sentence from their kids' mouths. Just one sentence.

And for that I am thankful.........Our difficult child is difficult, but when things are good he's a champion chatter!

P4 -- You make another good point about when our difficult child's only respond to a line being drawn in the sand. So, true. But, hey, maybe that line in the sand is actually EASIER for them? I know it's HARDER for us. But I guess if there's a chance it's EASIER for them, that helps me accept it more?


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MWM -- I just re-read your story about adoption and all of your kids. Yes, I agree with you on so many things you said -- especially Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). What a life-changing journey your family experience must be! It's a lot of info to take in, and a lot of emotion to attempt to fathom. Thank you so much for sharing it so openly.

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs backatchya! <3


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It's ok, Headlights Mom. This is the only place I do share this. As you can imagine, I didn't talk about that kid we adopted who did such horrible things to my younger children. I know...I know he was obviously abused in his long line of foster homes somewhere and that's why he did it. But I also know I could not risk the other kids for him. They were terrified of him. And so was I. Hubby just wanted to...well, you know about dads and daughters.

I love talking to adopted adults. It helps me understand my adopted children and the questions they may have, and how best to address them.

As for having a big heart, I have always cared about those in need and always wanted to help others. My first hub and I had a bio. son, but that was after we had talked about adoption. So we adopted two more children from other countries and then when I remarried my husband and I adopted two more children. It has been quite a trip! They have been the best experiences and the worst. Now I will explain why, although I adopted a lot (with two different husbands), it was not just because of my big heart!

Part of the reason we adopted after my first was born was because my family was so full of mental illness and personality disorders that I was afraid to have more children. I crossed my fingers and hoped our bio. son would be ok, but he has turned out to be the hardest one.I don't consider the two who are not with us now to be part of our family. You have to participate in the family unit to be part of a family. So of the children who still participate in the family, bio. son is by far the most puzzling and the most difficult.

I am close to that son...he is maybe TOO close to me, in his head...but he has been very difficult, a con artist, at times dangerous and self-destructive, and his troubles started early on. He is the reason I still stay here. I believe he has antisocial traits, yet he was a wanted child brought up with lots and lots of love and caring and we got him the best help. I see so many of my relatives in him that it's scary. That is not a good thing. My family is extremely dysfunctional in a very mean sort of way.

You probably didn't mean to make me smile when you talked about your son's birthfamily and please forgive me for doing so. It's just that I have heard, over and over again among my adoptive parent group friends, how much their children are like their children's biological families. There is no criminal gene. I so agree. But, yes, you are right on target...there are behaviors and personality traits that combine to make one a criminal. And they can be inherited.

HM, you are so right that mental illness does not equal criminal behavior. They are two separate animals. You can have both, but one doesn't cause the other. I have mental health issues and share them here to try to help others who may not understand first-hand, and I really never broke the law or substance abused. It is a choice. In my mind, I knew I would struggle my entire life. I knew it early in life, before I ever saw a therapist. And I didn't want to make it worse by screwing up my mind with drugs. Breaking the law never entered my mind. It just wasn't something it occurred to me to do. Criminality and mental illness are far more common in people who have personality disorders, such as antisocial or narcissistic. But you seem so bright. I'm sure you know that.

I hope your son gets his act together. He has a wonderful, intelligent mother. I will totally enjoy reading more of your posts and cross my fingers for good news!!
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MWM -- You are wonderful to chat with! You bring me new ideas (a very exciting thing in all avenues of life) and share your stories and your life -- your ups and downs, your perceptions, your struggles and your triumphs with such genuineness and candor. All are appreciated. :)

Well, it's just a trip-and-a-half to see the bio vs adoptive traits in action. I am very fortunate to see it in my own life and in my son's life.

As I was 25 yrs old first meeting my birth mother, it was a phenomenal experience. I have never laid eyes on my birth father (though I have spoken on the phone with him). I also have bio siblings (2 half brothers, 1 half sister) and scores of cousins scattered around the country. With minor exception, ALL of the have openly welcomed and embraced me. The vast majority of them are educated, artistic, and largely somewhat eccentric in their self-expression. We look alike, walk alike, talk alike (for the most part). We're mostly verbal and extroverted. We share similar interests -- largely the arts. And some of them (on my birth father's side, especially) are rip-roarin' FUNNY! I am close to many of my bio family. I am close to my birth mother (whom I call by her first name, rather than "Mom" adoptive mom was there for the "Mom" portion of my life and I love her and reserve that sacred title for her alone). My bio mother totally gets this (in fact likes it), and we do just GREAT together!

My adoptive roots differ greatly, but bring equally wonderful and important gifts into my life. My adoptive parents were business professionals -- my mom a CPA, my dad a management consultant. These are things I know nothing about. But my parents were (my dad is still alive, my mom died in 2002) both HUGE readers, seekers of knowledge, history, and ethics. My adoptive upbringing had its issues, but it was much more stable than my immediate birth origins (I was the result of a one night relationship after). My adoptive brother and I were very close as kids, went our separate ways in our 20's, but once we hit our 40's we were tight again. My brother is a GREAT guy (a sales manager, by profession...and a very sensitive animal lover who tries not to let it show :) ). We take care of my 87-yo dad together. Most of all, my adoptive mom played an enormous role in my life. We were very close. She had a flair for fun and adventure. She was very athletic right until her dying day (I, also, am very athletic). And my mom was, bar none, the BEST friend anyone could have. That would be a whole different thread. But my mom loved everyone and everyone loved her right back.

When I was growing up, I didn't think much about adoption. When I sought my bio mother out (long story), I discovered she'd already been looking for me for 2 yrs. I'm an "open" and fairly "flexible" sort, but it still took me many years of sifting to figure out what I thought of the whole adoption thing. By the time I was 40-ish, I concluded that I have lived a better life because I was adopted. No offense to bio family at all. It's just that the circumstances at the time were clear.........My bio parents weren't ready for me, but my adoptive parents were. And they WANTED kids so badly.

Of course, with our difficult child (and your adoptive kids), their story is much different. They endured abuse. I did not. Police intervention stripped them from their homes for their survival. I have no idea what that would feel like.......especially at such a tender young age. My brother's (adoptive bro) sons are grown and have taken great effort to include and be supportive of our difficult child. Our nephews are awesome!

MWM -- Absolutely, I agree about mental health not equating to criminal behavior. We have several friends and family who wrestle with varying degrees of mental illness and commit no crimes. On my adoptive side, our son is the ONLY one who perpetuates criminal behavior. On my bio side, I'm only aware of 1 who perpetuated it, but he did finally choose a better path. He's a character and I enjoy the heck out of him! But he did have a stretch of criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, our difficult child's bio side is checkered with crime. It's very clear-cut, too........It's the MEN. The women wrestle with mental health matters, but their offenses are small. 3 women in his bio family, I rather enjoy. His bio mother is a fetal alcohol baby, herself (don't think difficult child is, though....but not sure). She lives in a group home and is very low functioning. I see his bio mother once a year or so and she always comes up and hugs me and says, "Thank you for taking care of my baby." To which I reply, "Thank you for _having_ my baby!" :) We laugh about it. She's harmless. difficult child went into foster care because his bio mother was so low functioning she'd shack up with whomever would let her live there. And those she shacked up with abused him -- in every way. She's so low functioning. But she's no criminal. Too low functioning. Most of the rest of his bio family were in and out of jail and rehab constantly. Hence, foster care. And, by the way, difficult child had a FANTASTIC foster family prior to us and we're still in touch with them. They're going to write him in rehab.

But the MEN in difficult child's bio family? Well......... YIKES! They're in and out of jail pretty constantly. They're hardened felons. I try to look deeper inside them. I know they're human lives and they matter. I know there's someone in there. But it is very hard to see sometimes. Just VERY HARDENED.

I will say that our difficult child is somewhat softer than his uncles. However, he's also younger, so I don't know how they were at his age. But I give our difficult child great credit for his "softer side" during his "open windows". We try to do everything we can to seek and grow his seeds of softness in him. Honestly, it's a really difficult task when his window is shut tight. I absolutely agree with you that Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) (which all of our difficult child's uncles are) is rough. difficult child is diagnosis'd with-Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).

Not sure I've seen a true Narcissistic diagnosis on someone (that I know of). I know what Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) looks like in pretty good detail. How does Narcissism look different in day to day life? I'll have to look that up. Personality disorders (esp Borderline) can be so tough.

Speaking of tough........... I do feel better already tonight. :)

Had a long chat with husband (man, did I hit the motherlode when I married him!). We strategized a new game plan and set of boundaries around difficult child's 28-day rehab period. The phone call today triggered something in me and the rehab packet triggered something in my husband. We laid out a plan and feel better now for acknowledging our own needs during this time.

MWM -- Thanks so much for this series of exchanges on this thread. You helped me a lot tonight. And I enjoyed chatting with you! Know that I support you, your BIG heart (the best way to live!), and your insights and humor! You're a bit of alright! :D


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Thanks for sharing your story, HLM :) I have had two very good friends in my lifetime. One passed away. The other I"m still in touch with, although she is in Illinois and I'm in Wisconsin. She is also adopted and we went through the meeting of her birthfamily together. It was very interesting because her birthmother's HUSBAND, who is NOT her biological father, was the one who welcomed her into the family and made things good for his entire life. Now she feels like she has two families. It's pretty cool. She did NOT have the best adoptive parents, but she loved them.

My twenty-one year old son who has a form of autism is one of the nicest young adults I know...and I hear that from so many people. He is not "simple" and is high functioning. His kindness just shines through him. Yet his birthmother was a chronic drug addict and probably sold her services for money. Son was born with drugs in his system and with syphilis, which was treated. He could have autism because of her drug use. I have no idea. But I have a strong feeling that extreme poverty in her life, the type of which our children have never experienced, drove her to her lifestyle and I like to believe that under her drug use, she was as caring and loving as my son. He got it somewhere. Maybe it was from his birthfather who was only mentioned once and whom there is no info about. I think about that sometimes. My son is not interested, however, in meeting anyone. In his case, because he is naive and trusting, like a young child, and his family grew up poor, rough and tough, I think it's for the best. I shudder thinking of my son in the mean streets of South Chicago, where there is no industry to find work, gangs in the streets, death, and the drug users are the heroes. That's the reality of the worst poverty in our country. He probably would not have made it to age twenty-one...

My youngest daughter has a wonderful birthmother, but her birthfather is a chornic drug abuser who has done time in prison more than once. My daughter is so much like her birthmother!!!

I have a daughter who was born in Korea. She just gave me my very first granddaughter!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay! I know nothing about her biology. One day she will probably try to find her birthmother. I am guessing she is sweet and a bit of a rebel!

Anyway, nice talking to you here :) Keep posting :)


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MHHL --- Thanks for thinking of me! Actually, things are going pretty well (I just posted a new thread that difficult child is still in rehab). I've just been swamped this week and haven't been on-line much at all.

difficult child is 1 week into rehab and is surprising us. We've spoken with him twice and he's still calm. Not accustomed to that, either. Now, maybe that all changes tomorrow. I dunno. My focus is truly on RIGHT NOW........TODAY ONLY. I used to be pretty terrible at maintaining that focus. But years with our difficult child has helped me learn it. It was either that or let the idea of it all swallow me whole. I chose to live and learn! And I'm still here to tell the tale. :)

I hope all's well with you, too, MHHL!