Another go around

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Kay is very nice to me if I have given her somethikng. But as soon as we decline the hates comes out. I always used to get nervous when she said "lets do morher/daughter lunch!" She would do that out of the blue from time to time. Usually that meant I not only pay for lunch at her chosen expensive restaurant, not a big deal, but her good face was on because she was/is about to ask for something that involves our money. She never called me by my first name when she was setting me up for one of her requests for something.


    These types of kids can be very manipulative and extremely good actors.
     
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I agree. He has become a stranger to me, and so I'm not sure when I'm being manipulated at times. I sometimes wonder if he was manipulating for years and we just didn't know.
     
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have always believed in nurture too. I think it would be hard to adopt if you did not believe strongly that your nurturing could make your child your own and make a difference for them.

    Many years ago I dated one of a set of identical twins. And then, when that relationship was over I dated the other twin, unbeknownst to the first. I got to know each of them well. They were NOTHING alike. I am not saying that genetic influences were not present, but they were just that, influences. The major aspects of their personality seemed determined by choices and decisions and interests and motivations.

    I agree with the others that the bipolar illness is the major influencer in Josh right now and until he gets some serious help with that he will continue off of the rails.

    I think what needs to happen now is EXACTLY where you seem to be headed. To stop the ability of Josh to affect you. I would STOP any interaction with him, as he is being beyond abusive. I would have NO expectations of him whatsoever. You set yourself up this way. He is not doing that. You are.

    He is not responsible really for what he is doing, if it is being directly or fueled by manic episodes. But that is not the same thing as saying he should not be held responsible. You must.

    Right now this is between him and your sister who was very kind to take him in. We have had this happen too. My son for two years was harbored by friends (ex) who had a beachfront motel in a major tourist city. This did not end well. While the people were well-meaning (on the face of it) they only enabled my son. And set him up for a fall.

    As I see this the likely outcome for people run amok with bipolar is that they come to a careening stop when they engage with authorities one way or another, either hospitalized involuntarily or arrested. Of course, there is the possibility that Josh manages to skirt this, and somehow his behavior moderates. But based upon my own experience, well-doers cannot help our children who are dealing with the kinds of issues that they deal with. What helps them is containment and treatment.

    You have no control here as I see it. Nor do you have a role. Josh is not allowing it. Because his mental state is trumping all other things.

    Your job is to not write the end of the story. As is my own. I have a really hard time not feeling that my own life is a tragedy as long as I feel that my son is beyond my help and in real trouble. My job too is to create safety for myself first and foremost, and then to create psychic safety by not battering myself and tarring myself with the brush of my son's suffering. *Sorry for mixed metaphors. I see you dealing with the same thing. This is an issue in us. Not in them.
     
  4. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Copa, as usual, your comments are very perceptive and insightful. I agree. I feel like my place right now is to step back out of the way and let happen whatever will happen. They may be able to help him, but on the other hand, he seems to be incapable of doing the things he needs to in order to get some of his life straightened out. For example, going through all the steps to obtain a drivers license. My sister commented that his cognitive ability seems to be a little slow and she asked me how he did in school. I told her that it may be a combination of several things, the Bipolar, poor nutrition, poor sleep, stress, etc. Any time I have tried to give practical suggestions on how to resolve a problem, he has not received those but simply retreated into verbal anger, which is a very odd response but maybe that's just part of the illness.
    I do feel that my life is a tragedy right now. I've set my wellbeing on how he is doing and his wellbeing, and that is a disaster. I've got to move on from that, I know this.
     
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son has not had a current driver's license in years. Why? Because he has Body Dysmorphic Disorder based upon some balding and insists on having his head covered all of the time. (He wears a hoody which he will not take off.) And the driver's license pictures here require hats off. Which he will not do. All manner of things, he is restricted from doing.

    We cannot attempt to solve these things for them or even to coach them. Based on my own experience, (painful) I know this. Either I get hysterical because he is impossible to corral (herding cats) or he gets hostile.

    Every.single.interaction you have with Josh leads to pain. Every.single.interaction gives him the opportunity to abuse you.

    This is not your fault. You are powerless here as long as you engage with him. You cannot solve ANYTHING for him right now. Every attempt by you leads to the same outcome. Pain.

    This is the learning right now. It is only for right now. Who knows what will happen in a month? A year? But right now this is what you have to deal with.

    There is hope but the hope right now comes from prayer. This is between you and G-d right now, as I see it. Not between you and Josh.

    All of us here understand your pain and suffering. I sure do. But some of this right now is self-inflicted. That is your job to stop.

    I am doing in my own life exactly what I am recommending. I am a Jew. I have turned to people in my faith who help me through prayer and meditation and spiritual counsel. This has helped me like nothing else. I truly believe what we are dealing with is primarily spiritual in nature. If I see it this way there is hope.
     
  6. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Wow. That is so heartbreaking about your son. I'm so sorry.
    Yup. You are absolutely right--every single interaction with him leads to pain. And yes, some of it is self-inflicted as I have continued to try and try and try, with the delusion that "this" time it will be different. There is absolutely a spiritual dynamic here. As a matter of fact, I believe that there is demonic activity that is bringing about spiritual oppression in his life and aggravating the mental health issues. There is a verse in Ephesians which says, "And do not give the devil a foothold..." We can, by our choices, allow him to get his foot in the door of our lives to influence and to bring destruction. I believe that is happening in Josh's life. I think that my hope and reliance has to be on God right now, because only He can change people's hearts.

    By the way, I'm Jewish by birth. Years ago, I came to the conclusion that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and believed in Him. I hope that doesn't offend you. :( I certainly don't want to do that, but I feel like it would be dishonest of me not to say something since you mentioned that you are Jewish.
     
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    How could I be offended?

    While our children are on their own spiritual path, what I was referring to is our own spiritual paths. I don't believe I have any business interfering in my son's spiritual path (although I do, which is wrong of me). This is what I meant to speak to: That you and I focus on our own path. Which is another way of saying, to stay in our own lane.

    Beta. I will be frank here. It is not from a critical place. It is because of the similarity between us that I recognize this. Your focus is on Josh. Still. As long as it stays on Josh you will feel angry, be reactive and feel powerless.

    There is a process of retraining our focus, I believe. It is doable.

    I think we stay focused on our errant children, as a means of defending against our pain. I think we fear how sad we would feel if we let go. I think the fear is unfounded. But I think we fear that the sadness would be unceasing. That is not true. I also think we hang onto the focus on them because we think we can control their illness. We would prefer to take the hits ourselves, than to surrender. There is the unconscious sense that if we hang on it will somehow make a difference. It won't. If it did, it would have worked for me, how much I have done it. It does not work. Believe me. I tried.
     
  8. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    You are right--my focus is on Josh, and it is something I need to re-train. I hadn't really thought through it before, but I'm sure that it does have a lot to do with trying to have a sense of control and avoiding the pain of loss. Being a "rescuer" and someone who likes to be in control, I have no doubt those dynamics are in play here. I'm sure there's a lot going on internally that I don't always recognize or understand as far as thought patterns.
     
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is true in all of us. But it is not the important thing. I spent years and years in psychoanalysis where the goal was to bring the unconscious to consciousness and to come to know and to understand it. I don't buy that now.

    So many years later I know now that this is not the important thing. We can take control. We can have intentions. Where we hang out is what we are. If we hang out with our kids, in their thoughts and emotions, we live as them and live through them. If we live from some other place, in prayer, in gratitude, in service, we become that. It is a daily practice. You know this.
     
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    We become what we think about. I definitely want to live a life of prayer, gratitude, love for God and people, and service. Not of fear, guilt, shame, regret. etc.
     
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