Another bout with letting go..........

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    From an observers point of view, I can see that when I let go of my daughter, the detachment I experienced and the changes that made in my life have been we've discussed here often, it prompted much growth and healing and shifted my thinking in so many ways...........I disconnected from friends, changed my experience at work which opened the door for much more power and abundance, became a better communicator and now, a piece I almost didn't expect, changed some patterning with my granddaughter.

    A car accident my granddaughter had brought a lot of "stuff" to the fore. She is fine, no injuries to anyone but the cars. First some old fear of mine about futility and a weird old defeatist attitude came up. Just for a moment but I saw it and SO and I talked about it. It was as if it were unearthed from the depths of me.........childhood stuff. It felt bad at first, but once I "told on myself" and it was in the light of day, it all passed and I felt much better, as if it was now released.

    Then my granddaughter's cavalier attitude about the accident brought forth this resentment and anger from that same deep place within. Last night the 3 of us talked about my feelings. SO ended up sharing the same feelings. It was amazingly cathartic for us. We pulled back a lot of our resources from granddaughter, not in a mean way, but so that she can go forth on her own volition with certain things I realized were not necessary, but are in fact, privileges. Just because I can provide her with everything, does not mean that doing so is a healthy choice. We put a lot on her plate and took a lot off of mine. Until I did that I wasn't totally aware of the resentment I was carrying around. But, I told her all my feelings and although it felt weird, it also felt right. She is acting in many ways like a typical teen, however, her typical teen years are waning and adult choices are staring her in the face and I have to step aside and allow her to make mistakes and figure a lot out on her own. This is obviously not my strong suit!!!

    I've learned a lot in the last two years and it has brought me to this point with my dear granddaughter, whom I love with all my heart. It is what is supposed to happen now.

    In addition to my detaching from my granddaughter because of my own stuff, it also feels healthy and appropriate at this stage of her life.........she is about to turn 18 and in a few short months will be moving away to college. It seems like a natural progression as well as a healing and growth spurt for me...........and her too.

    I told SO last night, "man, in terms of growth and change, we got a lot of mileage out of that car accident!"

    Today I feel sad. I recognize that as an ending. Even if the ending is what you want, sometimes, it still feels sad. Something has ended and I am in that empty space in between.............uncertainty, the void space. I feel a tad shaken inside. I am realizing that she is pretty grown up and needs to have her own responsibilities and expectations on her plate and even though getting it off my plate is necessary and what I want, it feels strange to me. I do recall going through some of this with my sister and my daughter too..............letting them go into life..............what you raise them for and what is also scary at the same time..............

    My granddaughter and I will now forge a new relationship. I have to say that after raising my daughter, the premier difficult child, my sister, the master difficult child and now my granddaughter the relative easy child (for the most part), I really am ready to let go of this mothering role. I am ready to fly on my own wings without the weight of another..................I've had that weight on me as long as I can remember and the possibility of that level of freedom is AWESOME and exciting............ and today, I am feeling that new possibility more then I ever have before. Holy moly. I'll keep you posted.............and if you can spare a good thought, send it on to my little granddaughter and to me...............we are both in the midst of more life changes.............
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    it is wonderful that you are able to recognize these things, and talk them through with people you love. I know that your main experience of letting go has been the letting go of difficult child. Having let go of both a easy child and a difficult child, and in the process of letting go of my other two PCs....I can tell you that is a wonderful description. It is often an episode of dysfunction that leaves a parent angry and disappointed that leads to the recognition that this young person is not making adult choices, good ones or not, and we must back off. That is NOT a sign of badness, or gfgedness, it just is. The letting go feels sad, it feels a bit like failure, it is hard, and yet it is freeing. It is different than letting go of a difficult child.

    You are so right that letting go is what is supposed to happen now with your difficult child. I often think of the animal kingdom under these circumstances...all those National Geographic shows with the senior lion and the young lions really tearing into each other, trying to kill each other, hurting each other...and then the young one is forced to leave the pride...either leave or kill the old ones and take over. The rupture is scary, hard, intense, potentially fatal. That is what separation from normal adolescents can feel like...and I am comforted to feel that we are playing out our primal roles. The fight, the departure, the new life for both. It is as it should be.

    What a blessing for both of you that you and SO are wise enough to know this, to see it, to allow the process! How great for young easy child, and for you, that you have been here before and have the tools already! I know my separation from first easy child was full of that I am detaching from difficult child...I can see how it helps my younger boys, poised themselves to separate from their mom, as they should.

    I am happy for you, and sad for you. Happy for easy child, who must feel she has wings, wings you gave her. And for you...a whole world of wholeness about to open!!! Yay! I am excited for you!!!!

    Thank you for sharing with us today,

    Hugs and affection,

    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    that was supposed to say "now making adult choices" not "NOT making adult choices! Not seeing the edit button today!
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I think you can officially change your screen name here to "Recovered Enabler"!

    You are so right. There's a lot of sadness, bittersweet anxiety in letting go, little by little. As our kids grow, our own mothering has to evolve to allow for healthy growth, but when difficult child's are involved, that evolution is delayed, rightly or wrongly. This evolution with your granddaughter is good, healthy and RIGHT on target. You're always ahead of the curve, RE, and I learn so much from reading your posts and your responses to other posts. A big shout-out to your SO, too - he's very supportive of you, 100% behind you all the way! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    And when we knew better, we did better.

    What a gift you are handing down, RE, to the next generation, borne of your own pain, suffering, enlightenment and courage.

    Kudos! You are giving your granddaughter the best possible launch you can give her.
  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi RE,
    Definitely sending out good thoughts for you and granddaughter.

    I know what you mean about the "sadness". I felt it just the other day...bittersweet as I watched my daughter studying for one of her college classes and handling so many responsibilites now. I, for a moment, flashed back to when she was a little girl with cowgirl boots on playing in the backyard. She was such a sweet little thing then.
    Now, she shows her "gruff" side at times and definitely is VERY independent!

    My mother and I are currently in counseling most Fridays. One thing the couselor repeats over and over is how our "job as parents is to work ourselves out of a job".
    And I think that is where you are...working yourself out of a job by placing more on granddaughter and less on yourself. It is the healthy progression of this "parent/child" relationship, right?
    And if your granddaughter is even a bit like my daughter she will believe in herself and grow even more confident as time passes...because you are letting go and letting her "fly".

    It is a mixed bag though isn't it? Sad, yet exciting.
    I hope the best for you both!

    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I wonder if the sadness has to do with having gone against every old, familiar pattern, Recovering? Until time passes and we see the rightness of a thing, change is only change. And it is scary.

    And I am amazed.

    This is the thing that mother I am always talking about would do, Recovering! She would have courage to see it ~ as you did, even if only for an instant and pursue that thing that told her something was not right. I love your clear description of the steps, of how each felt, of how one led to the next.

    Imagine if you had turned away, turned toward some comforting, enabling, controlling strategy, instead.


    Maybe the something that has ended is the enabler's "hit", the thing that tells us we did it, we saved them, we are in control and nothing is going to go wrong.

    Know that I am sending you so much good energy, Recovering.

    It is hard. You are doing it ~ honestly, with thought and kindness and care.

    You've done it. This was the final step in changing things for your generations.

    Maybe part of what you are feeling is the echoing spaces into which there is now room for you to grow.

    You have earned it, Recovering.

    I see it is possible. I will get there, too.


    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • List
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    "Coming to, we may feel uncomfortable with the situations we have so long accommodated. We burn with resentment and a yearning for change. But we cannot learn new ways of being ~ or teach them to others ~ without first accepting the feelings that drive dysfunctions."

    The Artist's Way at Work
    Julia Cameron


    "In the third transformation the dragon suddenly finds itself plunged into a dark chasm. In a desperate attempt to stop its plummeting, it claws at the edges of the abyss. Where only moments ago it had been soaring on waves of newly liberated energy, now it finds itself in a sudden and terrifying free fall. Both the danger and the desperation are real."

    I think this is from the Artist's Way at Work, too.


    "...the discomfort of the creative vacuum."

    Also, Artist's Way at Work. The sadness will pass in time, Recovering. The emptiness once was filled with the comfort of the negativity you refused to abide, for the sake of your granddaughter, and for your own sake. You chose this, Recovering.


    Here is something beautiful to hold you until strength returns.

    "When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you."

    Hasidic saying

  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    In that brilliant, breaking dawning the cripple stood
    and walked, alone
    Child of the Wind before and behind her
    of the Fire and of the phoenix ~
    of the Witch and the falcon, flown

    Child of the cauldron's acidic integrity
    and of the novitiate's determined intent

    Of grinding dissonance; and of the gravid lust of

    Of the whisperings of the angelic host
    and of the Child's own hellish descent....

    Marked by stars and marred by solitude
    destined to soar the glory of the rising wind that sings her maiden flight

    To shelter against the bloodied breast
    of the wounded white dove...

    And to weave, of the dancer's shadow and the white mare's
    The innocence of the novitiate's heart to the wakened soul of the woman,

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your wise and comforting means a lot to me and brings a real solace to know you understand. You are all so dear to me......

    Well, I had a realization earlier today about that sadness I felt about my granddaughter and the end of this pattern of enabling with her. I'll try to explain this ........... it is still feeling pretty of the hallmarks of enabling is that you feel as if you can control another, that you have the power and the authority to actually change, fix, improve and dictate what another can do. It is very powerful, heady and all encompassing. I was still engulfed in that thinking when I raised my daughter and sister, I thought no matter what evolves, I can control it and I can work out anything that happens by the sheer force of my will and my love and commitment...........

    ................Well, guess what? I don't have the enablers armor any longer.............I don't have that magic cloak that can protect those around me from harm............I am not Super woman who can leap tall buildings in s single bound............I am just little ole me, I can't control my granddaughter's life and keep her from harm. And, that brings up a kind of vulnerability unlike anything I've ever felt before.

    This vulnerability feels deep and real and very, very open..............yet tender, yielding, a surrender into uncertainty and the great unknown...............sigh.............and there have been some tears too...........

    I can see now that as this was emerging from inside of me, I was trying to keep it down, I was trying to feel anger, resentment, pretty much anything other then.............vulnerability......

    My belief is that life is a teacher............I've often read that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears"..............I think I had become ready to feel this vulnerability...............2 weeks ago at my workplace I had a strange experience with an odd guy (I think he was mentally ill) who came into my office and had a meltdown. My office is in a 160 year old huge 3 story mansion amidst a bunch of houses, but the property around the mansion is remote. The walls are 2 feet thick. I was completely alone as I often am. He was very agitated and I had to insist he leave. He did. However, afterwards, it occurred to me how vulnerable I am there.

    The Board where I work is instituting major changes as a result with security cameras, panic buttons, the works..............but the feeling of vulnerability, to some degree stayed.

    Then the incident with my granddaughter and my recognition of my vulnerability.

    Vulnerability. This feels as if a part of my heart has opened up.........a part I wasn't even aware was closed off until now..........this is a whole new me coming out. Without the kind of 'all-knowing, always strong and capable, can take care of anything' feels as if something important has cracked open............

    Not to say this is a sudden eruption of a new persona, I have really been at this unraveling for decades.....letting go..........letting go.............surrendering to what is........learning acceptance..........uncovering my real self...........

    I just cried to SO...........recalling a time when my granddaughter was about 7 and we were driving and she was in the back seat and she said, "Grammy, you know what I want?" I said, "no what?" She said, " I just want to have a normal life." Her Dad had killed himself, her half-sisters were taken away, her mother went heart near broke hearing that...........

    When I was 7 and a good part of my adult life, what I always wanted was to have a "normal" life.

    When SO and my granddaughter and I all got together, we all began a journey into a "normal" life............for she and I, it was a first.

    Along with that "normal" life comes the profound realization that I am out there in life with absolutely no safety net...........that level of fragility and remarkable preciousness of each moment just takes my breath is just about the most tender feeling I can imagine feeling.............and........... surviving.

    Resistance to vulnerability creates the false self, the inauthentic persona which destroys the real SELF.............becoming REAL hurts like the dickens......and yet even in this soft, tender place.............I have to say, it is worth whatever it takes to get here............shaky as it all is right now, it feels right, it feels good, I feel more at home in my own body, in my own self........I am in AWE............
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    What is the music which would accompany this awakening, Recovering?

  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    RE, what a beautiful and revealing post. You really described another level in the process of recovery and detachment I believe.

    It is so worth it to have even a glimpse, a taste, of this deep calm, contentment, as you said---vulnerability, and I would also say assurance that all will be well.

    I like the term "cracked open" that you use. There is a deep soft place inside us that is the place of peace.

    We could have hardened ourselves against the suffering of this. We could now be hard-hearted toward ourselves, our difficult children and to everybody, because the world is and can be such a tough, tough place and this journey can be pain-filled. Oh, the pain we have all endured just with our difficult children for how long? For so long, it seems.

    Not to mention the other challenges, difficulties, disappointments, losses, failures of "normal life." What we are doing with our difficult children is way, way outside a "normal life."

    And so we had/have two choices---stay deep in the disease with them and continue down the road titled Enabling. Or, turn. And go in a different direction, the road called Recovery. And then there would be at least two forks in that road---the toughening road or the gentling road.

    I want to have a tender, open heart with the ability to gently, kindly say No. No is a complete sentence but there are ways to say No filled with anger, judgment and contempt. I have done that. I don't like myself when that I my choice.

    I believe that what you describe, RE, is the gentling road. We are learning to accept what is with gratitude and with compassion, and to then claim our own lives, with love for ourselves and for our difficult children and all others.

    This hard, hard work to get to this place, this clearing on the journey, is such a gift. I believe it is from God and it is bringing us to where He envisioned we could be all along. This is what he envisions for all people. I wonder how many get there or even get to stop for a while there.

    Who knows what is next? I have learned that this journey comes in fits and starts, and there will be more hard places, tough places, stints on the tough road---necessary ones---ahead. But I want to spend more time and stay on the gentling road, and I hope I can.

    thank you for your beautiful words, so descriptive and so appealing. Prayers and blessings for you and all of us today.
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    I love this. Thank you
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Recovering, I am honored to be here, to see and feel this.



    Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget you are there.

    Lao Tzu
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The first song that came to mind Cedar, is What a wonderful world, by Louis Armstrong although I have a rendition of it by Willie Nelson that is beautiful. I can see clearly now the rain is gone, by Johnny Nash popped in next and then, one of my all time faves, Imagine, by John Lennon...............I am not sure if they are fitting to the "awakening" however, they were the first 3 songs which came to mind reading your question.

    I'm in that place after which you've made a fairly significant change, you are quite alert to new behaviors as the walls of self deception collapse. Reminds me of that beautiful quote by William Blake, "if the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."

    An experience I'm having is this sort of spontaneous ability to see these (now) small injustices or annoyances or comments another may make which in the past, I would ignore and allow, but which hurt me..........I'm talking minor, I think the bigger issues I'm good with addressing............these are small kinds of everyday things that are said or done which probably many of us glide I am addressing those things right away.........I am not walking away from anything which has the tiniest impact on me without addressing it. Enabling or responding in ways which did not honor myself, at least for me, kept a cap on my ability to respond, one of the consequences of that feeling invisible that Echo mentioned...........I have become quite visible and even more verbal. It isn't happening a lot, but I have noticed that my editing button is completely turned off and I am showing up and being present more and more. It's actually pretty cool because I am not angry or responding with intensity, I just address a comment made or anything that comes up with this new found level of truth and spontaneity.

    It's also true with loving and positive things, those feelings are right in the moment too, spontaneous responses of appreciation and gratitude. That feels very good.

    It all feels clean, right and freeing...........and very 'in the moment.'

    This new truth telling opened up this door for me to express myself without holding back and it has impacted my job and my relationships............a certain fear about telling the truth and risking loss, or judgment or something which would be gone. It is quite apparent too. I was just in a position of taking a risk where there was a rather large potential for loss for me and rather then skirt around it, I addressed it directly, fully knowing I may lose but I now had this strength and trust to realize, no matter what, being true to myself beat out holding on and abandoning myself. The risk paid off too, I did actually receive precisely what I wanted. I think when we are that clear in our intent, others respond differently then when we are uncertain and wavering.

    Granddaughter seems to be rising to the occasion. Some kind of a thin veil seems to have lifted for me at least, perhaps for her too. As in the song, I can see more clearly now.........she is not a little girl in need of my help, she is a capable woman who is whole and complete all by herself. Interesting to me that I actually see her differently now. She 'appears' to be more aware that we are people, human beings, not just feels like we made a turn in the right direction here......whew.........

    Change is such an interesting phenomenon, we forge ahead, in many ways hurting through the change, scared, uncertain, it can be so difficult..........and then change happens and poof, you're now over here............then, like me now, you go through the actual shifts and movements necessary to bring forth the changes..............and then, poof, there you are, in a whole new space. That can take 5 minutes or 30 years............perhaps as long in time as our denial and fear is in size and depth.

    Today, in this moment, everything is just fine.......
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  16. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    this is so important!!! And the development of that skill, or the blossoming of that ability, is a gift born out of the hard hard work of dealing with difficult child' mud, no lotus. No beautiful flower without dirty wet stuff under it.

    I have found that detaching from difficult child (and also from my ex, whom I enabled in big ways) percolated through my life in such healthy ways. My admittedly toxic controlling relationship with my teenage daughter...when she left for college I just totally let go...In a week, in a day...I just embodied the idea that she was now 2000 miles away, and all I could do was support her when she asked. It was FANTASTIC for our relationship. We still fight sometimes, but I know she feels seen, known, supported. And I feel the same from her. And it is because...I STOPPED TRYING TO CONTROL HER. She doesn't attack or undermine me, and I don't manipulate and undermine her. SEems pretty basic, doesn't it..and yet...such a long journey.

    at work yestarday my boss, who is generally quite a fair and reasonable guy, but is old enough to be my dad and we work in a very hieracrchical world...went after me in a group meeting, saying unfounded things and holding me accountable for things that were completely outside my purview or control. I left the building after the meeting, walked around and around (and stopped at a diner and ate too much). I wasn't sure I could come back to work, I was afraid I would burst out inappropriately, say things in anger, generalize, burst into tears. I fantasized about quitting, thought of other jobs, thought how awkward it would be for him if the only woman at my level left (I had fun with that). but then...I came back and walked straight into his office. I reported on the facts on the twon main issues at hand. I reminded him that neither he NOR I were at the meeting that went askew that he blamed me for (in fact he and I were together). I told him that I felt he had attacked me inappropriately, and that his memory was wrong (he said I was bringing things in out of the blue, whereas in fact I was bringing up things that had been openly discussed at not one but two retreats this year). I didn't yell, cry, or generalize (although my voice may have wavered a bit at one point). I felt fine, and clear. And then it was over.

    In the past I would have eaten all that. Rolled over and showed my belly, smiled weakly (I hate that) accommodated.

    I am so much better now. I can see it in so many ways, reflected through the prism of your experience, and that of so many others on the site, but especially you and Cedar.

    No mud no lotus. Its great.

    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm running out the door but I just wanted to quickly respond Echo......

    Wow, that work incident is huge! You shifted that old behavior quickly and dealt with it beautifully. Great job. Perhaps today, you can put your focus on that, on acknowledging what a terrific job you did.........find a way to reward yourself for that and take the focus off of difficult child for just this moment..............and realize what an important step you took in your own self love and self care............I am quite impressed............and you could be too!!! No mud no lotus, that is wonderful, thanks Echo...........go out there and be in life...........come out and play.............
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    There is a movie about an Oriental man seeking enlightenment. He is accepted into a monastery. As he grows, as he learns, he does something foolish. No one castigates him. No one chastises him.

    He cannot take it!

    He leaps into the community cesspool. There he stays, day and night. He watches the moon.

    He waits, determined.

    One night, the lotus blossoms.

    I've never forgotten that movie.

  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Sacred spaces, Recovering.

    And courage. You insisted. He left. You pursued that little something, that feeling that you tried to cover so quickly.


    I feel like one of those plump, goodhearted fairies watching the awakening in Disney's "Sleeping Beauty."

    Or Gomer Pyle.