Another step in the right direction

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yesterday must have had a new planetary configuration in the skies .........that new behavior we work so hard on took root somewhere inside me and I got to experience that change in some random events that took place.

    SO and I took a stand with granddaughter when she was upset because we wouldn't do something in her time and for her convenience. Generally we are pretty accommodating with her, but with our new guidelines of holding a strong stance which she is not used to, being a teen, she had to push the boundaries. It got heated and that's where I usually falter, but I held my ground (shaky as it was) and then SO and I retreated to go for a walk.

    As we were walking and discussing what had just occurred and feeling pretty good about it all (still a tad shaky though) who do we run into? My daughter! She is on the side of the road, parked in front of one of her friends houses, pulling glass out of the back of her car which has a huge broken rear window. We stop to chat. She said someone threw a rock last night and broke the window. I suggest something and she said, "I don't even have any money to do that Mom." I ask about insurance, she says "I have $250 deductible." We stood around for a minute or so and since we were on a fast paced walk, we said goodbye and good luck and moved on.

    We got home and I was preparing dinner and realized I had an absence of any feelings at all about my daughter. The usual angst, sorrow, annoyance, feeling a need to DO SOMETHING........was missing. I had a feeling of compassion for her, as one would for an acquaintance who had encountered some bad luck. That was it. I waited and when I went to bed I thought, 'this is where the negative feelings will erupt, just as I am trying to go to sleep.' But they didn't.

    Granddaughter was making every attempt this morning to move beyond yesterdays encounter........with each issue that arises that we hold that firm ground on, she changes, she grows, she sees what we are talking about............we have to 'gird our loins' but as we hold strong, it really does change.

    I am kind of blown away about my reaction to my daughter. She is really in exactly the same spot as she's been in for a decade now...........stuck. But, I am not. I have worked and worked to shift my responses, to heal my own stuff, to let go, to detach, to do all of it, everything we talk about all the time here.............and yesterday I had a real live encounter, face to face, and I remained centered, calm and okay.............for me, this is a milestone, on not only the front with my granddaughter but my daughter as well.

    As we talk about here, detachment/acceptance does in fact work. The difference between me now and me 2 years ago is profound. The difference between my daughter now and my daughter two years ago..............well..............there is no difference. I am feeling a lot of gratitude right now as I write this, for this board, for all the help I received, for the ability we humans have to enact changes in our lives.........(and I am smiling too!)
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  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Yay recovering, what a victory. What progress you have made.

    You give such good and thoughtful and authentic responses here on this board. Maybe you have written wise words so many times to others that they just finally penetrated YOU at the cellular level.

    You are living what you say.

    What hope that means for me and for all of us. And, now you are changing your family tree by taking what you have learned so well, so well, and you are able to teach your granddaughter.

    That is what it is all about, recovering. You are doing it!
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  3. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I SO agree with childofmine...this is a VICTORY.

    husband is a bowling coach and this reminds me of when he says, "We are not in charge of the outcome...only the execution."

    You are facing things head on and accepting what is and what will be without reservation. No more fearing what will happen if you don't run fast enough, jump fast enough, do something say something...You are just allowing the pieces to fall where they may.

    I am making baby steps too. It's not easy.
    ps Your granddaughter is truly blessed to have you.
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  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So interesting. I dont know exactly how I would have reacted as far as your daughter goes. I would hope I would do the same but I cant be sure. And of course, my grandchildren have me wrapped.

    One interesting thing is that I worry so much less about Jamie who is a long way from me but is actually in a pretty dangerous job. In the beginning I used to worry about him but now I dont. I figure if something happens that I need to worry about, someone will call me. I was thinking about this just a few minutes ago while watching the weather channel. They are calling for his area to get hit pretty hard soon. He will be getting what we have had but they say he may get more snow than we did. Now all that doesnt sound too bad except he has to work outside in this. As most of you know, he works for the sheriffs dept as an animal control officer. I guess most people think no one would send out someone about animals during a disaster but that just isnt so in VA. He will be required to be on call for as long as needed. This happens all the time. I mostly dont worry too badly because he has been very well trained as far as driving both in the Marines and then with the sheriff's dept. He also has the newest and biggest truck they have. I feel sorry for him that he will most likely be cold and miserable but its the job he chose, plus his truck has all the gadgets and he can keep it running constantly.

    Now with Billy, I worry if he has to drive to work in a light rain!
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, Recovering...balance, silence, determination, determined intent. My heart goes with you, Recovering. Learning to let it go, to let it be, to stay upright in the face of it. Truly, we have no choice but to learn these things. Could it be that we will learn to walk this path too, with joy? I see that.

    This in the middle part is really hard for me, though. (Cedar spits in the dust. Ew. She has been chewing tobacco, again. Bad Cedar! :O)

    When difficult child daughter is not doing well, her vehicles sustain an incredible amount of the strangest kinds of damage, too.

    Wishing strength and peace and so many good things, Recovering. It seems I will never get "there." Then you post something like this, and I see what "there" feels like.

    Now I am stronger, too.

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your kind responses. I so appreciate all of you.

    The last few days have been about SO and I setting new boundaries with my granddaughter. It is WAY, WAY easier then it was with my difficult child, but is not my strong suit, so I am having to be strong and hold that line, override my empathy and natural giving tendencies (and old enabling tendencies) and look at this newly................that this is for HER, for her future, for her ability to stand on her own and make good choices, to not be entitled, to teach her independence from the safe cocoon we have provided for her.

    Last night we drove her to the Apple store to get a new phone. The phone I bought her for Christmas broke. Fortunately we have insurance for it, but still it was $79. I insisted she pay for the phone. (she has a job and makes enough to pay for some things)The other day I insisted she pay for the overage on the Verizon cell phone bill for her using the internet on her phone which runs about an extra $40 a month. Last week I insisted she pay for a part of the repairs to SO's car which she had an accident with and the repairs were rather costly. I made a budget for her to do all of these payments for the next few months so she could begin to really understand what the value of money is and how immediate gratification doesn't work when you have bills to pay. ( a lesson her mother has yet to learn) She has to meet a GPA criteria before she can continue to drive our cars and have her own. Her hang out time with her bff is limited to do homework and we have stopped driving her anywhere but to school and work. These all represent big changes for all of us. No one is comfortable quite yet with the new regime. Sigh. I have to say, I will be relieved when my tenure in this teenage world is complete!!

    This is a small pocket of change compared to so many others which have been devastating............this is not so hard as it is bumpy and new and that I have to be awake to continue to make the changes. It's all good..............I'm a little tired though, not as peppy as I used to be!

    So much has happened in the last two many changes gone on inside and outside of me.............with each step forward now I am gaining momentum in this new more two steps forward and 10 steps back like it was for so long as I was stopping the enabling with my daughter..............there is real progress happening on all fronts.

    I have mostly looked at this as a spiritual journey............often depicted as three understanding of it is this............the first being the old life blows is forced to retreat from normal life........... the second stage is to go within to find ones true value and ones own authenticity and one's own identity now bringing along spirit, or divinity or God, or however one see's a higher power.............shifting from a completely physical interpretation to a more spiritual perspective...............and then the "return"...........stepping out of that internal place back into the world, but with a whole new outlook and (hopefully) a whole new, healthy, authentic, empowered self who has the ability to withstand uncertainty and flow with events without judgments, comparisons and attachments. Tall order. Many years ago, when I was in the first stages of this journey, I came across books and teachers which showed me I could look at it this way rather then simply massive suffering and loss..................

    That's what it feels like to me now.............that I am emerging from an internal hurricane which lasted for quite some time and now the terrain is completely changed, cleansed by the massive power of the force of the light, the expansion of values more in tune with the soul rather then my ego or my shame or my own fears and 'small' self........

    I have the tools to use to shift things with my granddaughter...............I can have some level of trust in myself to make good, healthy choices...........even when it feels weird and hard...........and I am tired. And, I have you guys............all of us huddled together, reporting our various stages of change, facing our fears, showing up each day to do battle, or rest, or have a pot of tea.............and to realize, wherever we are in the journey, that we are doing it, we are here, present, accounted for, ready for the next for all of us....................keep those wagons circled............I like you all being close.............
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Wow, I love this---you identifying these stages. I see this! Yes, this is true.

    I see moments of this in my life. It feels really good and new and wonderful and I want more of it. I like this new me that I get to glimpse every now and then. She is much stronger and much healthier and more sure.

    This is group therapy, talk therapy at its finest! How could it be better, anywhere? It's moving us faster to healthier behavior.

    This is true gift. Thank you RE, for your shares and your wisdom. You help me so much. All of you, Cedar, LMS, MWM, so many others...i get something from nearly every post I read from every person no matter where they are or I am in my recovery.

    More! More! More! recovery feels good. :) So much better than the old ways.
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, thanks COM, it is like group therapy! For many years I was happily involved in groups of all kinds, always loving the energy and the remarkable sense of community they can represent. There is a special bond which occurs, I read once that the biblical reference to "two or more gathered in my name" is at play...........bringing forth a deep connection and sense of belonging to something beyond simply ourselves, but the "greater good." We have that here and I believe that "energy" attracts 'like minded souls' to join us............very nice indeed.

    After I wrote my last post, I felt better which is often the case when I clarify my thoughts and "empty" myself of my thoughts and feelings. A 'lightness of being' transpires and off I go leaving any imbalances behind. It is a gift.

    As I've mentioned, I believe in seeing life as "lessons" in which we get to heal, learn, grow, transform, be lifted out of our everyday fears and attachments into a place of more peace and acceptance. One incident with my difficult child which lent credence to my own beliefs was a time (I've mentioned this before as well) where she popped out of her dark reality, was crying and looked at me intensely and said that her greatest desire was to see me heal from all the pain of my stopped me in my tracks..................and I have never forgotten that moment in time.............I felt as if that was the truth and when I popped out of my enabling patterns with her and freed myself of the shackles of that pain, I realized she in fact was the impetus for that freedom. She was my teacher. That was a remarkable gift. She and I are both free.........she gets to decide what that looks like to her.

    It's all so mysterious and awe inspiring............when we let go of all that control and allow ourselves to surrender to that invisible "Universal field of love" I believe we are carried along on gossamer wings, not void of pain or suffering or life's complications, but offered the knowledge of our connection to all that is which brings forth that "peace which passes all understanding." And, oh what a ride it is............
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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow, RE! You have come so far. You have literally taken off the shackles and chains our difficult children put on us, emotionally of course. I think the older they get, the more we see that this is who they are, the hope that anything will change fades, we gain acceptance. I think it's a lot like the four steps of grieving until you get to acceptance. Is that what you meant? I had to go through the grieving stages with 36, but that happened in far apart increments, and then with Scott. How I felt about Scott was probably similar to how one feels when somebody dies.

    I think as soon as we realize that our adult child is not a person we'd even want to know if he weren't our child, the grieving begins. The grieving for that child with the bright eyes and engaging smile that we wanted to conquer the world. And then to see where he is now...either an emotional disaster or an emotional disaster PLUS a drug addict PLUS a moocher PLUS...etc. etc. etc. With Scott I had to face the unusual, "He is never coming back" when I still mourned for him to come back. Funny how it turned around. Now I don't want him back. And I wouldn't know how to handle it if he did come back.

    Yep. Maybe MANY of us have come far...and this group of posters are so full of love, warmth and support. And wisdom.
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    I also have to say that in the stages RE identifies above---the "retreat from normal life" I have been feeling this for some time. Sometimes I feel like a stranger with groups of old friends or individual old friends. I even feel like a stranger to myself. It has been unsettling and scary and sometimes that part doesn't feel so good.

    It helps so much to know that others here have felt that in the "retreat from normal life." Also things I used to think were important or WERE important, aren't important to me any more. Activities, involvements, groups.

    That feels weird too and has contributed to my feeling of isolation.

    Isolation is such a part of all of this---isolation like I just described, plus isolation from old friends with all PCS who are telling how great they are doing (and they are that is okay but hard to hear) plus the isolation to lick our wounds and feel the pain and try to keep going regardless.

    So much isolation. That doesn't feel good.

    But I see, described by RE that it is necessary, that stage, and is one more step in moving to a much better place. No pain, no gain, I guess.

    So good to see it in black and white and to see that there ARE steps beyond that feel much better...
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  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you MWM, yes, many of us have come far..........and yes, there is a lot of grieving before reaching acceptance.........

    COM, that isolation you speak of is, in my opinion, indeed part of journey. My experience was that as I was making all those internal changes, my external reality began to look very different to me. Many things fell away on their own which started the descent............and many choices I made kept the changes coming at times fast and furious, at other times slow and drawn out. I cried a lot. I was grieving the losses of my former life. I was not really prepared for being 'out there' I felt too raw, vulnerable and as if I didn't even know who I was anymore. Rarely was anyone else able to empathize with me, or understand and in truth, I could not even articulate what was happening to me. The losses were tremendous, as if every part of my life was being turned upside down. I recall telling friends that I was on my knees for years and when I would try to stand up, something would knock me back down again. It was really quite difficult.

    Over the course of time, I made some very difficult decisions about those I wanted to be around........I changed careers at the time after the loss of my own business............a long term relationship father died............I left my home which had been my sanctuary.............I let go of friends, actually that went on for a long time, I just couldn't relate to some people anymore. As I progressed through and started to develop my new and improved and oh so much healthier self...........I made hard choices about closer friends, friends who have been close to my heart for years...........but I wanted more intimacy, more depth, more love and connection..........and some people are on their own journeys and it no longer matched or was able to be connected to mine. I think the important factor for me was that my values changed, I started seeing things very differently, my willingness to be harmed, in any way at all became impossible, my love for myself would not allow that.............that alone changes everything. The big moment came when I had to let go of my daughter..........holy moly................ having gone through these stages over time made that possible.

    I think the isolation is necessary as we forge an entirely different's work, it's a real commitment to one's self, for me, it made sense because as you described, I had glimpses of that freedom, that peace, that acceptance and what that meant in terms of how I felt or feel on a daily basis and the difference is astonishing. As you said, " I wanted more of that."

    I read a lot of spiritual books, old and new, which helped....... many call this process "the dark night of the soul." One way of looking at it is the release of fear...........the recognition that we are all connected...............the realization that love is the profound thread which holds us all together............and that often watching the news, reading the newspaper, the usual reality within which we live, ceases to have any real meaning, what becomes meaningful is love..............opening one's heart and looking at how one can be of service, not in an enabling way, but truly, with a generosity of spirit............and yet also being able to receive that the energy is understanding is that we are part of a universal support system where, without our egos, our self serving ways, our comparisons and fears and judgments and attachments...........we could be helping one another............but we can't evolve into that when our internal system is all about control and acquisition. That is what goes overboard in these stages...........our fears............little by little fear ceases to have that hold on us, the need to control diminishes..........I believe what we are left with is a soft and caring, profound sense of love of our self, and from that point, everything in the quote by Rumi, "there is a field where there is no right thinking and wrong thinking, I'll meet you there." I wanted to live in that field, that was my intention. I studied a lot of Buddhist and other spiritual traditions which gives you a guiding light through. It all sounds so mystical, and I guess it is, but my belief was that I could marry spirit with what goes on here on planet earth and that was what propelled me forward.

    If you can get your hands on the Course of Miracles Teachers Manual and check out the part which gives the "teachers lessons" the first one is trust and the page or so which describes what that is about, pretty much describes what happened to me and what I think is what happens to all of us when we make that internal intention to be on this path..........however we do that. I read so many books and searched high and low for answers and understanding.........and they're out there once you look. As the saying goes, "once the student is ready the teacher appears" I can't tell you how many times I was struck by being offered something which I so needed at the time............I believe in guidance and intuition and listening to our inner voice...............I believe in "following the clues" that life presents us with.............I do not believe in coincidences or random occurrences which happen for no reason..........I am not saying I am right, I am saying that is my belief. We all get to decide what we want to believe in.

    Yes, there is pain, but the pain, in my opinion, is in our holding on, our suffering over our losses, what we believe we can't live without, our kids, our money, our home, our careers, usually, in my experience, what we go through losing, is what we were most attached to. Buddha said, what causes suffering is our attachments. It isn't that we can't have what we want, it's that we might want to learn to let go of that tight, controlling, death grip on them. We have to be willing to let go. It's all about letting go. And, man, it's one helluva ride.

    I hope that makes sense COM. I am here to offer any help I can, it is most definitely a part of my journey to be of service, here and wherever I can. These are my beliefs, my journey, in no way am I pushing an agenda here, this has simply been my experience and what I believe to be true.
  12. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Thanks so much for an uplifting message, RE and COM, I'm right here--I have a hard time even going into work because I don't want to pretend around people that all is ok and I'm just fine...I'm stronger than I was-- I can go to the grocery store without levaing in tears!...;-)...but still stay at home alot more than I usually do, working on home improvement projects to try and focus on 'creating' something positive...I am having more good days than bad now but I suspect 2 years is at least as long as it will take to get where you were when you walked home from seeing your difficult child, RE...congratulations on all that growth and hard work!

    I was not really prepared for being 'out there' I felt too raw, vulnerable and as if I didn't even know who I was anymore. Rarely was anyone else able to empathize with me, or understand and in truth, I could not even articulate what was happening to me. The losses were tremendous, as if every part of my life was being turned upside down.

    Read more:
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks BITS. Your post made me think of a time, in the not so distant past, when I often went out to lunch with a friend in this nice restaurant in town. Every single time I was there, I started to cry! About the 5th time, the Manager, who was quite discreet and sweet about it, actually came to our table and asked me if I would realistically consider not coming back anymore since I was disturbing the other guests. I imagine that was a hard thing for him to do, he seemed very uncomfortable. However, for me, it was humiliating. So I was grieving and completely I look back on that and my girlfriend and I laugh about it. She always says, "geez, I can't take you anywhere," or "remember when you were falling apart all over town...........and in the nicest places too!"

    So BITS, we do live through this stuff, much as it seems sometimes that we certainly won't. And, someday, you'll look back on this and you'll smile, knowing you got through one helluva movie and you lived to tell the tale!
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    For you, COM:

    "Extremely odd sensation, this new awareness, as though she had come a full step away from her former associates. The feeling was poignant with loss."

    Frank Herbert
    The Jesus Incident

    The woman he is writing about has just completed something dangerous, something courageous and outrageously impossible. She does it to keep her sanity; she does it because she refuses to allow her situation to destroy her.

    And for you, Recovering:

    "When you love as she has loved, you grow old beautifully."

    Somerset Maughm

    What a beautiful morning today's has been. The sun is just coming up, here. I am in a high place with a pot of good, fresh coffee, and all of you to think about things with.

    Life is so good.

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