Another development, another update. Oy.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Scent of Cedar *, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, after our truly stellar Christmas Eve and prior to our equally stellar Christmas Day dinner with friends, we learned that 14 year old granddaughter (the child just given into the temporary custody of her aunt) disappeared around 8 p.m. Christmas Eve night. She was with her 15 year old female cousin. The aunt dropped both girls off at the Omnimax,, which is in the heart of the City, to see a movie. The girls bussed or taxied to a movie theater at the mall. The aunt called to check on them, learned they were at the mall, and went to get them. Did some screaming (which I would have done, too) and dropped them at the Omnimax again. (The girls' story was that they thought she knew they meant to see the particular movie playing at the theater in the mall.) The aunt had driven something like 90 miles to attend a Christmas Eve function, and had only brought the girls along in the first place so they would not be alone.

    As soon as the aunt left, the girls decided to run away, ditched the cell phone, and took off.

    The aunt discovered they were missing soon after, but the girls were nowhere to be found. The police were contacted. A missing person's report was filed. Around 2 a.m. this morning everyone was frantic. Security cameras show the girls walking out of the Omnimax and through a skywalk (very cold in that city) and then...they were just gone.

    The girls showed up IN THAT VERY SKYWALK, unharmed, at noon today.

    No explanation for where they were until 1:30 a.m. on this below zero night. Claim that at 1:30, they went to an old friend of granddaughters, where they stayed until 6 a.m. Then, they went somewhere else and finally, to Great Grandmother's house, around 10 o'clock this morning. (Which, according to Great Grandma in a telephone conversation this evening, they did. Great Grandma is 85. She was happy to see them, and had no clue they were missing.) They left her house in a taxi. (So...when am I going to learn to stop sending cash money for Christmas? Very pricey to taxi the 10 to 15 miles from Great Grandma's to the City. Grrrr....) difficult child daughter and the aunt had been chasing around everywhere they could think of and finally, in a last, desperate effort to trace exactly where the girls had disappeared, returned to the Skywalk, where they spotted the girls.

    So (newly christened difficult child) granddaughter can no longer live with the aunt, who will not have her and is so disgusted she may send her own daughter to live with the father in California. difficult child granddaughter is currently in the Shelter with difficult child mom. (Which, as promised, did allow difficult child daughter back after her two day suspension for fighting. What kind of shelter that is, exactly, which puts a woman at risk out on the streets for two days? And then takes her back? I don't know.)

    Which means difficult child granddaughter no longer has anywhere to live. So, we either take difficult child granddaughter right along with difficult child daughter or difficult child granddaughter, who refuses to live with, or have anything to do with, her mother, will need to go into foster care.

    So, husband and I had another one of those evenings where husband begins picking at the one or two small faults I do have. Shortly thereafter, Bad Cedar arrived on her broom.

    husband was able to resolve his hostility quite readily.


    We know we cannot control granddaughter. If this aunt could not do it, I think it cannot be done without counseling and a very strict, very restrictive, environment. There will be no medical insurance for difficult child granddaughter in the state where we are.

    So, difficult child granddaughter will have to go to foster care. I talked to her at some length tonight. She is so angry and confused and understandably traumatized. She would like to come here. I had to tell her I did not think we could handle her, and thought foster care might be the best thing.

    I never in a million years believed I would tell a grandchild of mine that.

    difficult child daughter has arranged for counseling for granddaughter and herself through the shelter. I am going to try to reach the counselor granddaughter saw recently through her school in relation to the fight to be released into the aunt's custody. She feels she trusts, and would be able to talk honestly with him, about what she should do, next.

    As long as it does not involve living with her mother. Not that I blame her.

    The neighbor is still agitating to drive up to Minnesota to collect difficult child daughter and bring her here, because he is like, head over heels. I do believe his jets were cooled a little over the possibility of 14 year old difficult child granddaughter riding shotgun.

    It's so ridiculous a situation that if I watched it on television? I would just have to laugh!

    At least then I could turn the channel.

    And finally, my sister FB me today, assuring me that all is well between us, I shouldn't worry, and wishing me and husband (whom she mentioned by name, adding "ie" to the end) a Merry Christmas.

    Remember that scene in Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase yells "Holy cow, halleluiah, pass the Tylenol!"


  2. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Wow Cedar pass the tylenol? more like pass the thorazine & duct tape

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Cedar (sigh). When it rains, it pours.

    I support your decision. You have enough on your plate and foster care could lead to more help for Granddaughter.

    Big hugs.
  4. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ah Cedar. I'm sorry. I do support your plan to NOT take your grandaughter in..she needs full focus, and that can't happen in your home. I don't know enough about foster care to know, but I do see that she can't be in your house, especially not if you may still be taking your daughter in.

    Try to keep the focus on what works for you in this bad situation. It is not YOUR are fine, healthy and strong and clear sighted. It is sad that your difficult child and grandGFG are having issues right now...but it is not yours to fix, and likely not fixable anytime soon. Your life is so valuable and sweet as well, you don't need to sink into their mire. You need to be the sane beacon who will leave to see another beacon day (or month or year)

    I'm really glad you had a stellar Christmas Eve and day. Please keep posting.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, the current plan may be: difficult child daughter and granddaughter remain at the Shelter for now. difficult child begins homeschooling granddaughter. (difficult child was a Junior High math/science teacher in a school for at risk kids before this happened, for those who don't know this.) difficult child will probably need surgery on both feet. Consult for this is the 2nd. After the surgery, and depending on how difficult child granddaughter is doing, husband and the neighbor would drive up to get both difficult child daughter and granddaughter. difficult child would continue to homeschool granddaughter through a program Minnesota has where the curriculum is provided. Once recovery is complete, difficult child daughter and granddaughter will take a year away to hike the Appalachian Trail. Alternatively, difficult child and granddaughter would continue at the Shelter after the surgery, availing themselves of what is available to them in Minnesota or an adjoining state. difficult child daughter would still homeschool granddaughter. Once they are ready, they will take a year to hike the Appalachian Trail.

    In the interim, there is online math tutoring to consider.

    You never know. The Appalachian Trail thing could work ~ for both difficult child and granddaughter.

    husband and I are doing well, just considering what to think about, what would be best. Probably best for difficult child and granddaughter to establish themselves in an apartment somewhere and then, come for a visit here.

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow. What an update.

    What jumps out at me Cedar, is this: Once we stop stepping in for every single issue our kids have, as we detach and deal with our own responses to the most recent problems, life evolves for our difficult child kids.............things happen and options open up......................not to say we are completely removed, but our help is limited, they are the ones who should be seeking options, answers and solutions since they are the ones who put it all in play in the first place. It appears to me, as you and husband step back, other options present themselves. I do believe that once WE stop BEING AN OPTION for our kids, they find other means and other means find them.

    As this newest development evolves, you and husband may be observers who are there to listen and advise, provide understanding and support while difficult child daughter and difficult child granddaughter figure it out for themselves.

    I think it was wise and appropriate for you to say no to granddaughter.........this is the age that all acting out occurs and will continue for a few more years. If you took her now, all of that acting out will be falsely directed at YOU. I've been there done that and it AIN'T pretty. You did the right thing. As you and husband stop providing all the answers other answers will be provided by other means. Good for you for stepping out. I know it has it's terrible moments. But it is the right and appropriate response.

    I like the staying at the shelter plan more because now that difficult child granddaughter has moved into difficult child status, difficult child daughter may pull out of her own GFGness to help her own daughter through this time............. and she would be better off doing that if she were on her own so she could develop the skill set to take care of herself and her daughter now............without you making it easier for her.

    Plans may continue changing daily for awhile until the dust settles and as difficult child daughter and granddaughter get used to you and husband not saving them at each step of the way. As that happens I think difficult child daughter will gain strength and find her own way. But, you have to stay out of her way. And, it sounds as if you are. Good job.

    While you are staying the course, don't forget to have fun, dance, play, enjoy, laugh, nurture yourselves, do your yoga, meditate, walk, run, goof off and just BE. It's your life Cedar, difficult child daughter and granddaughter are doing their lives now................go have some fun with husband!!
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I talked to difficult child daughter last night. She is not making any plans for what is to happen, next. The neighbor has told her he has room for both difficult child and difficult child granddaughter if we do not take them. difficult child's ex-husband has offered the same....

    So, I suppose we are being roundly condemned by one and all, as usual.

    difficult child has decided against foster care. Granddaughter appears to have accepted that she will live with her mother. Granddaughter's pain at our refusal to take her is very hard for us.

    For me.

    And for husband.

    We are wavering, toying with old patterns of rescue and blame.

    Blame for all this has been placed squarely on husband, though I am the one who said "no" in no uncertain terms. This has been par for the course for poor husband. I have been such an enabler in the past that he was the one, in the past, who needed to step in and say no. In the past, pain or confusion in the voices of my children opened wallets and doors husband had closed and locked. This was a pattern for husband and I. He would say "no" knowing I would say "yes." So, he could say no and blame me for it. I could blame him for creating the situation by his heartlessness in the first place. Lots of blaming going around, lots of money going out...and still, the kids are in trouble.

    That is the one stable thing I know. Whatever we did in the past has not helped, other than as a stopgap measure.

    It is difficult to stay with the belief that turning away from our daughter now, after a beating which would never have happened had we simply taken responsibility for she and our granddaughter in the first place, is the right thing.

    I don't know what we are going to do.

    Money? So they can go to the ex-husband?

    Take them in?

    Let the neighbor take them in and deal with the consequences himself? He is clueless about so much of the history, here. I don't see a good outcome, but you never know.

    I don't see a good outcome.

    I reminded difficult child again last night that staying where she is long enough to be certain medical care is available if she needs it and setting up a social services network for herself and her daughter before coming here to heal and decide what to do next makes sense.

    That is when she told me about the neighbor's offer, and about the ex-husband's offer. difficult child is very disappointed that husband and the neighbor did not head North this morning, as planned.

    As you know, both my kids absolutely believe they would not be where they are in their lives had we been supportive enough. Even the beating difficult child just went through is, in a sense, our ultimate responsibility. Had we taken difficult child and granddaughter with us, without question, last Fall...she would not have gone back to granddaughter's father.

    And though we gave them money, had the man in our home, discussed drug use and physical abuse and both the blessing and the commitment involved in creating a family and raising their daughter know what happened.

    It is difficult to know what to do.

    Sitting with the feelings.

    Posting does help. I am a little clearer on what is driving that almost overwhelming urge to just get them down here.

    Guilt, and shame. Regret, that I did not insist that difficult child and granddaughter come with us last Fall. So, there is another little piece of the enabling puzzle. It isn't solely that we claim responsibility and take control for self aggrandizement.

    I feel so guilty that this happened. I knew, I should have known. husband and I should not have gone South that winter when difficult child became so unstable.

    I knew, I should have known.

    That is what runs, like a brilliant scarlet thread, through the tapestry of the enabler.

    I knew. I should have known.

    I knew, I could have stopped this, could have changed this.

    And I did nothing.

    The only counter to these thoughts is that it was difficult child who chose the people she did, the drugs and the druggies and violent criminals, against our strenuous objections and even while we were still there. There would have been no way to stop her, just as there was no way to stop her when she chose to run from treatment and picked the bad man and homelessness over her kids and ex-husband.

    There is a measure of strength in that.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    OK Cedar, I really want you to hear me now, so put on your listening ears and heads up!! YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY OF THIS. WHATEVER CHOICES YOU MADE IN THE PAST DID NOT CREATE THE MESS YOUR DAUGHTER IS IN. Had you taken her anywhere, at any time, she will have found other abusers to do exactly what happened. She is the victim of abusers, not one abuser, any abuser she can find. All you are doing, each time you step in, is prolong the inevitable outcome whatever that is. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO CONTROL ANOTHER PERSONS CHOICES. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER OR AUTHORITY TO CONTROL ANOTHER PERSONS FATE.

    All of those thoughts you are wandering through now is old behavior which has a lot of power and is erupting with full force. The way your kids have both controlled you and husband is to blame you. Then you blame each other. Then you blame the kids. Then the kids blame you. The blame game. A bunch of negative feelings going on while no real positive, healthy action takes place. It's a good game to keep everyone stuck. Cut it out!

    While you and husband ruminate about what is going to happen next, you are stuck in control and fear and anger and resentment and blame. Let it all go. There is nothing you need to do or even should be doing or could be doing. Your daughter has decided to let things ride for awhile, let it ride. Do not step in. She has options now which she needs to give some thought to. If she makes what you consider to be the wrong decision then so be it. It is HER LIFE not yours. While she is in the middle time, the time to wait and allow options to unfold it would be really good for you to allow this time without stepping in, controlling, offering options..........allow your daughter to be a grown up and figure this out for herself. YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. Your daughter is in this place because of choices she has made. Allow her the adult option to wait, to figure it out, to discover for herself what she wants to do. While you all wait, other options will appear, but you need to give it time without stepping in to lessen the guilt you feel. You must sit with that guilt and recognize that it is an illusion to keep you behaving in the same manner over and over again. Step out of that place, step out of all of it and wait. If you can do that and not take any action, you will find that ideas, people, options and new thinking will occur.

    If your neighbor and others are judging you, so what? Stop caring what others think of your parenting or your choices, they are not living your life, they have no right to judge you. We here know what you have gone through with your kids, for what? 20 years? 30 years? No one has any right to judge you Cedar. If you are letting that get to you, examine your own judgments of yourself. In my humble opinion you and husband have unrealistic expectations of yourselves, expectations to be the perfect, good, all wonderful reality, we are all flawed human beings, none of us are those perfect parents. You did not create this Cedar, this is the destiny your kids created for themselves to learn something, to discover something for themselves..........don't take that away from seems so dramatic because I believe things get so dramatic when we do not change our behavior, when we make the same choices over and over again, with the exact same result.

    The truth is you do not want your daughter or your granddaughter to live with you. That is the truth. That is what you and husband want. Your daughter needs to find her own way and you guys need to face the truth of what you really want. It is written all over your posts, each and every one...........but it seems because you feel you SHOULD take in your daughter you override what you want and give in to that illusion and then the blame game begins all over again.................All of the underlying negative feelings would go away if you follow what you want. Then you give your daughter the permission to do what she really wants. And your granddaughter too. The truth.

    In the dynamic of the victim, rescuer, persecutor, the victim has all the power. Notice while daughter hangs out, everyone around her is scurrying around looking for answers.........remarkable power your daughter has................she is not stressing out the way everyone else is..............and she should be the only one stressing out, not you. A victims only power is over those who rescue her and then the dynamic turns to the victim persecuting the's an endless game. The only way to stop it is someone has to stop playing, someone has to walk out of the dynamic, then it can't work. Step out Cedar, stop allowing your daughter to control your life with her victim stance. Let her empower herself instead of being a perpetual victim. Perhaps she will learn to have healthier relationships with men then, instead of being the ultimate victim of abusers.

    I feel extremely protective of you and husband. Each drama brings so much hurt to your door. You don't deserve that Cedar. Stay in the space of non doing and allow it to unfold. Big hugs for you and husband, geez, wishing you a day of peace.............
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  9. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It is NOT your fault. We are not GOD. We do the best we can at any given time. Are other people to blame for how your life turned out? Of course not. Stop beating yourself up. Love your daughter and your granddaughter, but opening yourself up for financial hardship and emotional turmoil will not help anyone.
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Recovering and pasajes4. It is good to be heard, and to be defended, when I am having trouble seeing my way clear to do that.

    What I found, after writing enough to recognize the guilt and shame under the anger, under the frustration and resentment, is this: This is the grown up world. There is no magical right solution. In the grown up world, we make the best decisions we know for all involved. Living through the worst probable outcome of the decisions we made does not mean the decision was wrong, or that I am (we are) guilty or responsible. What it means is that we made the best choice we knew for ourselves and, again and again, the worst probable outcome became the current reality.

    End of story.

    You are both right about not re-engaging old patterns, about sitting with the discomfort, about time and change.

  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was just reading Maya Angelou quotes..............I recall that you are a fan of quotes, so these are for you:

    History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

    I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

    Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean

    When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

    At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.

    The only thing is, people have to develop courage. It is most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you can't practice any other virtues consistently.

    When a person is going through hell, and she encounters someone who went through hellish hell and survived, then she can say, 'Mine is not so bad as all that. She came through, and so can I.'

    There is another one which I recall someone here having on their bio, something like, "we did what we did, if we had known better we would have done better."

    You are not omnipotent Cedar, you cannot know the future and all the possible scenarios and how they might play out..............we make choices, and at the time, that's the best we've got to go did your best. You always do your best. Can you accept that truth? You did all you could. Remember that Brene Brown said, Abundance is not the opposite of scarcity, ENOUGH is. You did enough. You are enough. It is enough. You'e done enough. Enough.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One of the wisest things I ever read is, "Your opinion of me is none of my business."
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Cedar, I can so relate to what you are feeling now. As you know it appears that Tony and I are the family fixers. I think having Buck here for so long taught me something though it taught Tony nothing. I ran myself ragged trying to fix things for him and he didnt worry one bit. Never again. Tony is convinced that should something happen and Mouse cant be with her parents, we should take her. I am refusing.

    I want what's left of my life on my terms.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thank you, each of you, and especially you, Recovering. I am doing better, today. We both are. Here is a good thing that happened: husband ran into Winn Dixie for something, and found a 30# bag of oysters for $10.99. Figuring what the heck, he bought a bag. They were beautiful. So, back to Winn Dixie husband went, today.


    The oysters are marked correctly, at $50.

    He is happily downstairs right now, shucking away and congratulating himself on his cleverness.


    Recovering? You are right. I did try to do my best. What I have learned going through this part is how much anger I carry for all those times I did my best and, almost every time, this kind of shocking upheaval was the outcome. I have never been angry for myself in these repetitive, ad nauseum occurrences.

    I have been guilty.

    Though it feels wrong to respond with anger when someone has been hurt or is in trouble, and doubly wrong to whine on about my right to something better when the kids I was responsible for raising are in pain of one kind or another...this anger was a triumph for me, Recovering.

    I am still smoking around the edges a little, but I seem to have come back to myself.

    The battle was between my right to be angry about the losses we've sustained and the guilt I feel for my responsibility for the losses we have sustained. All of us. The kids, too ~ all the things that should be good and right in their lives, and that are not. That endless question about what I did or did not do, what I should or should not have done...this is the upper slope of the "evil" question.

    So, it turns out the question was never about whether I was secretly evil for having survived against my mother's wishes. Neither was the question one of survivor's guilt or even, guilt that I survived, at all.

    Those questions about the validity and nature of my survival were my justification for why I could not claim the right, the undeniable right, to my life for my own sake. In taking on the role of mother (a role my grandmother, who loved me, admired and claimed for herself as admirable), I was both justifying my own existence and burying myself alive. To lay claim to the anger I feel was to have broken through, first "evil" ~ which happened some years ago, after the botching of therapy with the first therapist, and then, to break through what the sense of evil had been transformed into: an almost universal feeling of guilt, of fraudulence.

    Perhaps that is similar to what you have broken through too, Janet, during those horrible, unfair years with Buck...and maybe that is why you can feel so clearly now the value of your own life, of your own time.

    The thing I needed to break through, the thing I taught myself as an abused child and needed to reinterpret now, as an adult, is that it was not some mistake, some lucky but somehow, deeply fraudulent happenstance, that I lived.

    In order to lay claim to the anger I felt, to the inadequacy I felt at everything beginning all over again, I had to break through the universal feeling of guilt that I substituted for the feeling of, for the question of, evil for having survived, against my mother's wishes.

    Which brings us again to the question of what is really going on here, Recovering.

    You, me, Janet, Witz.... I know there were others of us, as well, who were participating in those threads about our childhoods.


  15. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Recovering and Cedar, I read your posts and recognize in myself the same struggles with my own past abuse from childhood on and how it has colored my parenting for the past 36 years. I am light years away from being whole. Your posts are always thoughtful and thought provoking.
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so glad to hear that you and husband are better. Pleased also about husband and the oysters!!

    I understand the "burying yourself alive" completely. I think if we bury our angers, our truths, our authentic selves, the sense of being "buried" or "stuck" or depressed or angry or resentful is pretty great.

    Well, from the perspective of some Shamanic beliefs, the soul becomes fragmented when trauma happens. Shamans go on "soul retrieval" quests to bring back the "fragments" so the person can be healed or in essence made whole seems, for me in my journey, that my difficult child pushed me back to the root of my own negative patterns and pushed me to look within. In doing so, I expressed old feelings and got in touch with and "broke through" old stuck places............bringing the fragments of myself together........wholeness.

    As Maya Angelou said, "anger is like fire. It burns it all clean." I'm very happy that you see your anger as a triumph, I see that in myself as well. I believe that 'old' anger, when it is expressed, has the capacity to burn through our own resistance, fear, uncertainty, sorrow and guilt and free us. Women expressing anger is often not seen as appropriate, and when we are angry in our roles as mothers, oh boy, not much support or understanding there. If we're defining motherhood as our only value, then we will certainly need to protect that status and not want to feel or be seen as inadequate. What a trap. Stuck. Buried alive.

    In my case, my daughter's recent behavior and my response to her unearthed all the old patterns ....... my ability to adhere to the old "script" was somewhat broken down already............and with all that help around me reminding me of my own worth and value and right to set strict boundaries, protect myself, make sure I was cared for, demand all came together for me when I was ready to make a big shift. I was simply unwilling to continue down the same old tried and true. I had become more valuable to myself then the power of the old "script."

    My belief is that suppressing feelings, however we do that, prevents us from being truly whole, authentic, honest, real and vitally alive. If one can't acknowledge and express anger (appropriately), then it would certainly make having an authentic, balanced healthy persona impossible to attain. Quite a large missing "fragment."

    I also believe that anger unhooks our dynamic, courageous, adventurous, risk taking, creative, engaged, 'showing up in life in a big way'..........self. We need that part to be fully real.

    You are doing such a good job Cedar of seeing all of the different fragments of yourself..........some probably need to be reinterpreted or allowed to disappear or strengthened, but the 'tapestry' is weaving itself BACK together in a stronger, more colorful, interesting, beautiful, intricate, lovely which now works to be what it was always meant to be.

    Breaking through and breaking's a very good thing.........
  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Still on the path.

    Joel Osteen was about "getting over it" this morning. When we compose a persona, however beautiful, just, and giving, around a trauma, we lose access to material vital to our decision-making capacities and, over the course of time, our lives are changed.

    We refuse to acknowledge the ugliness of what it is, when bad things happen. We dress it up, understand it away, forgive the wrongness, believe we can believe it better without addressing the rot at the core of it.

    This is how we've lived our lives. Having taken on our abuser's pathologic interpretations of who we were, of what we meant, of how we could and should and would be seen, we could never lay claim to legitimacy. We could never know, deep in our hearts, that we were meant to be, here in the world; we could never acknowledge or understand that we are enough, that we were blessed into a generous, fulsome, powerful existence by intent and by joyful design.

    There is that imagery of the tapestry, so beautifully, so perfectly woven, weaving, again.

    That is what has always lived behind my refusal to see what is happening with my kids, and what I need to do about it. That is the difference between me and that mom I always wonder about, that mom who loves squarely, who loves right on and demands the same of her children without blinking, without accepting less than as enough. As these breakthroughs happen for me, I am amazed at the difference looking through these changed eyes brings. It is like the legend of the shaman recovering lost portions of the spirit, Recovering.

    Always, that feeling of breath, that feeling of a little more room. A feeling of balanced exploration, almost of light within, as one after another, old beliefs and decisions and concepts are re-understood.

    It was always my choice to see in this way, Recovering. I am not recovering lost portions of self. I am hearing them. A damaged child comes not to trust her core, her intuitions or judgments. Instead, we (some of us) carefully construct a decent, ethical, kind person out of what we have left. It is a choice. We have no readily visible guiding star.

    Everything is a choice, for us.

    Everything is a choice: to live, to try, to make our own small realms of influence beautiful, to be better than we had known, better than who we were taught we were, though our abuser's truths roll and echo through those places within where others have remembrance of loving family, or of a redemptive Christ.

    Everything sealed in contempt.

    So, though anger is an appropriate response to this new way of seeing Recovering, I think it is not anger that burns through it, but intent. As surely as we created ourselves, we can stand up to the judgments of our abusers to enliven those lovely, ethical, faithful, loyal, forgiving selves we have called into existence and come truly to be.

    Riding that edge of discomfort Brene Brown talks about. That must be the place where we don't pull the wool over our own eyes anymore, Recovering.

  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    pasajes4, I am glad you are reading along and taking something from this, too. Sometimes, it feels like I am inappropriately whining away about myself on a site devoted to how we turn the energies in our families around. Other times, I am aware that if I am ever going to get through this and change the family dynamic, this may be the one shot I have, here, with all of you, and that I had best take hold.

    Your comment was a validation for me, pasajes.



    I wonder, Recovering, whether what feels like anger as it comes aware is the core energy, the essence of self that had to be hidden away for us to survive the abuser's realm of influence over our lives. Could it be true that, on some level, we still believe the abuser's interpretation of that essential essence of self as an intrinsic wrongness, as something to be targeted and destroyed....

    It is frightening; I do feel that it takes an act of courage and faith to release her, to acknowledge her, to take her out of hiding.

    All my life?

    I have worked very hard not to be my mother. And she is sealed away in here too, poisonous, contemptuous, bigger and stronger than me.

    So, I am still a child in that realm.

    Pretty gutsy of that little kid to call her abuser by name, to question and shame the adversary and to free herself by an act of will.

    So, there is the cowardice motif.

    It turns out it was a key, a way to unlock something that needed healing, needed to be reinterpreted so I could lay claim to the legitimacy of my own life.

    That is why therapy could never touch that imagery. It wasn't enough that I go back as an adult and understand the wrongness of what happened. I had to go back and confront and reinterpret the abuser's interpretation of my intrinsic value.

    Because that kind of labeling is what is really happening in any abusive situation, from public rudeness to bad driving to murder to racism to homophobia. Why else would angry drivers feel compelled to scream and gesture and posture? Victimization of any kind empowers the abuser; that is the payoff. But like anything ill-gotten, that burst of power leaves him or her thirsting for more. Those feelings of power over would become addictive to the abuser, to someone so damaged themselves that any validation, legitimate or not, is heady stuff.

    Human nature. And we see it played out every day ~ in racism, in religious fanaticism, in all the myriad abuses of power we all witness day after day after day.


    Fastening onto any attempt at another, different, better identity with a savage determination to replace it with fear, with terror and self-disgust, our abusers keep us focused, not on ourselves as we grow and flower and change, but on them. They cannot bear to lose the only witness who sees them as they truly are; a sly little secret at the heart of the thing. Abusers are addicted to the power hit, something they can get only through their savaged witnesses, who cannot defy the abuser or challenge her inflated picture of herself because they believe it, too.

    I believe that is why my mother is so opposed to my (or my sister's) marriages. She could not dominate the males involved, because, as they were not seeing her through a sticky film of terror and guilt and wrongness, they could see her for the broken person she is. They did not take her seriously, an error fatal to the abuser's contrived self-image as all-powerful and oh so scary.

    My mother still needs to abuse, emotionally and psychologically (now that she cannot abuse physically any more), out of her fear of the emptiness that made the power hit only attainable through terrorizing others addictive in the first place.

    I am losing my anger at my abuser, at all my abusers. It is there, but changing. I feel instead a multi-colored whirlwind descending, blasting apart those old caricatures of power and rage.

    Forgiveness is not a question. It is simply that I now choose to see. Whether she would have rejected it or not, my mother did not know to ride the edge, the vulnerable edge where true things can be chosen over comfortable old patterns. And I do choose, and I do see.

    So, I am, we are, fortunate, here.

    We have been able to recognize one another, and to share what each knows.


    Good for us.


    Your comment about being unwilling to travel the same tried and true...that was such a big part of my rage and disgust too, Recovering. After all these years, I had no other way to go. What I've been doing hasn't worked. I want my family healed. If detaching is a way to get there, that is where I am going. The stunning part is the growth that is occurring for me through detaching. In order to set my kids free to sink or swim, I have to confront that old belief about myself. Had to confront the old guilt/fraudulent/illegitimate belief system, because in letting my kids seek their own levels, I am running face to face into how and why I created the who that I am in the first place. I am seeing the times I have excused a thing instead of condemning it when it was so small as to be unnoticeable.

    So, of course my children would learn to excuse wrongnesses, would learn to believe for some magical best, would come back, again and again, for those dishonest reflections of selves better than their behaviors merited, and which they would see reflected nowhere else.

    A lie is a lie, an excuse is an excuse. A wrongness is a wrongness, and should be addressed.

    It could be that for my children, there was no core mom to trust. I could not give my children truths I did not know, myself. I could only give them, with all good faith, what I wished was true, what I was determined would be true.

    So, let's see what transpires when we begin telling the truth.

    I remember your posting about a time when you told your daughter, without anger, what you were seeing, Recovering.

    You had let go of the outcome. You were not doing it to help her or even, to help yourself. You just found yourself speaking.

    So really, detachment is about detaching from our own emotional reactions. That is what you mean when you say we have no control. I always feel so foolish when I finally begin to see something so simple.

    Hard work, to get here, though.

  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    Very courageous, to claim that right to and for yourself, Recovering. We are lost for a little while, without the script.

    I am so proud of and for you.

  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Similar to the Shamanic soul retrieval, there is a process a therapist taught me which serves to identify the parts of ourselves, out of our awareness, which were designed to help us to survive childhood trauma, but end up preventing us from being integrated and whole as adults. It's kind of like the phenomenon of multiple personality disorder, where trauma breaks the core self into parts, parts originally designed to protect the self, but ultimately, end up hurting the self. The goal is integration. As disassociated parts are recognized and given a voice, an expression, they are brought 'home' so the core self can integrate and utilize them.

    Seems to me that those wounded children who reside within us, have enormous allow those voices to surface, is certainly an act of courage Cedar. One thing I recall feeling quite a few times throughout this process is rage. It felt more like the kind of rage a child would feel, so I interpreted that as pockets of old feelings which were stuck inside my body and psyche and I was able to release those feelings when I was strong enough to allow them. I also felt great sorrow and a truckload of felt as if I got to the 'root' of those feelings and they now required full expression. Mother wounds are deep Cedar, our fragile children within sustained some serious early belief about how to heal from that has developed over decades of therapy and my own personal research and has to be felt and expressed. And, the fear we humans have to go into that place is extraordinarily powerful and often prevents us from making that journey. So, we stay stuck, depressed, removed, disconnected, alone, angry, oblivious through addictions or masked in a false persona which we would rather die then let go of. I witness that phenomenon often and having gone into those scary places, I understand why many of us avoid going. The thing is, if we don't endeavor down those has an enormous impact on our ability to be engaged in show up fully and be present.......because so many parts of ourselves are missing..........One important thing my parents did do was to show me that I did not want to be one of the walking wounded or walking dead, I wanted to be whole...............and very, very alive and engaged in life. My parents were mere shadows of themselves, I could see that early on and I knew early on I did not want to be like them. They were very stuck in their roles as parents and hated those roles because they felt as if they had no choice and so they resented us with a vengeance.........

    " What I've been doing hasn't worked. I want my family healed. If detaching is a way to get there, that is where I am going."

    Well, we can't heal our family, but we can heal ourselves, we can break the chains that bind us and change our behavior and responses so that our family can change their responses to us. I think it is a healthier goal to heal ourselves and then let go of the rest. Our family may not heal Cedar, that is not up to us, it is up to them.

    It is very hard work indeed.

    Your post made me think of how we work and work towards some lofty goal of healing, or wholeness, or consciousness...............and one day without even noticing, we've changed and integrated that new behavior, it's a part of us..............and it just happened without any fanfare or even an acknowledgement.

    "So really, detachment is about detaching from our own emotional reactions. That is what you mean when you say we have no control. I always feel so foolish when I finally begin to see something so simple."

    That's been my experience Cedar. I've done the changing and difficult child did little......responding in a different way happened only after I went deeply into my own you've done as well..............quite a journey...........and as in all change, once we change, those around us have no choice but to change............or remove themselves from our sphere of influence. My daughter is learning how to step into my world and honor my value and my values............not me trying to adapt to how she interprets reality.

    A very important component for me has been to shift my unhealthy sense of responsibility for others.......what others do or don't do, has little or nothing to do with me or my worth or ability to enjoy my own life..........that overblown sense of duty had nothing to do with reality, it was a role cemented onto me by an emotionally closed down mother who abdicated the role of mother to me. My value was tied to that role and responsibility............easy to see why we have so much trouble letting those roles go.............and why the FOG sets in..........and why we fight for our are simply human Cedar, not the perfect parent with the weighty expectations of yourself, but a wounded child trying desperately to be loved and accepted, like the rest of us wounded children.............. tell yourself daily that you did the best you could have..............

    Speaking of talking straight to our kids, I recently did that difficult child emailed me a kind of explanation and apology for a recent miscommunication......I took it as an opportunity to tell her more of what it's felt like to be her mother, her unrealistic expectations of myself and others, how difficult she could be, how painful enabling her has been for me...............without an attachment to the outcome of those words, what it was and perhaps all it was, was more freedom for me............a gift...........only she knows if those words impacted her or not. Just being able to tell her my truth is extraordinary, because the 'role' I had been in did not permit truth, only stilted versions of a script I had nothing to do with creating.

    I think you are on the verge of a massive expansion Cedar, which is likely going to alter your life in ways you can't even imagine right now. No more contracting...........only expanding...........
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013