Best gift we can ever give our DCs: The gift of detachment with love

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Two posts today said this so very well: I'm giving my son the best gift I can give him and it's the gift of detachment.

    Wow. What a thought. I am creating this new post with this idea because I think it is so very worthy of all our consideration.

    There is a great post already on this thread about what detachment is and isn't.

    1. It isn't cutting off all contact.
    2. It might mean taking a break from contact for a while.
    3. It isn't yelling and being mean.
    4. It is planning what we will say and sticking to that as much as possible.
    5. It isn't "giving them one last speech" before we stop taking their calls.
    6. It is keeping it simple, and saying less instead of more (they already know).
    7. It isn't coldly cutting them off.
    8. It is setting boundaries that first work for us regarding phone calls, texts, visits, FB messages.
    9. It isn't never caring about them again.
    10. It is letting adults learn how to grow up and be adults, even if it's hard to watch.

    And it's a whole lot more.

    Figuring out when it's good to "help" and when it's not good to "help" is a daily, sometimes minute by minute struggle. It isn't easy.

    It's so hard to know what to do and what not to do.

    Often, if we will just wait...WAIT....let time go by, even a few hours or a day or two...we will see that their "emergency" resolves itself or it morphs into something else.

    Acting immediately is for us. It always has been. We have to see that, and then we have to start training ourselves to wait.

    Happy Thanksgiving today! There is so much to be grateful for, regardless.

    Warm hugs.
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  2. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Happy Thanksgiving all. I love this thread..Because the gift of detachment works best if done with love for both parties. If detachment is done without love, it is something more like abandonment. It says I don't care..if done with love it says, I cannot do for you what you must do for yourself..but I am rooting for you that you will do it and that I believe you can do it if you choose to...I am still here waiting, love that, because I know I will be waiting forever if that's what it takes. .Tell me what you see as your options...I do not dictate your options, unless you ask me what some may be...I am not driving your train, you are..But I care..I think the danger here can be if we let them in our hearts we fear we will lose our boundaries so painstakingly set..Not necessarily so but it requires thinking weighing, not reacting quickly, taking time to share with our friends what the best course of action is. It's not black and white thinking but rather grey..and each situation requires a different response..
    My twork cents. Thanks COM for starting this,healing discussion..xoCarolita
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  3. Quicksand

    Quicksand Active Member

    Thanks. I needed that right now. It's been a rough day.
  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    A very, very rough day......and lonely.
  5. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Yes wakeup call me too...The holiday seems to emphasize the losses this situation brings. But you are not alone...There is alot of caring and support here. If we let the sadness out, we make room for something glad you shared it. xo Carolita
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Great thread. Thanks. I am back in the middle of figuring this out tonight. My son is across the country figuring out what to do and I just need to sit back and wait. And I hope he is getting there....but who knows where he is sleeping tonight....although it sounds like he is considering detox.

    I do believe knowing we love him makes a difference....and I think it is helpful to him to know what we will help with (him going back to the tx center) and it helps that we are sitting back and waiting for him to figure it out knowing he may end up on the street tonight.

    And it helped me to go out and have a nice thanksgiving dinner with hubby and daughter.

    To me all of this is detachment with love!
  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am on a break from contact right now.
    It is necessary for me to be able to regroup and breathe.
    It does not mean I won't speak with my girls again.
    But they have a history of not calling, when things do not go their way.

    The toughest part was seeing my eldest the last time, in the shape she was, she simply would not accept help in the way of rehab, or a dv shelter.
    Watching her walk out the door, was tough. It is hard to know what to do in a situation like this.
    I do know, having her live in our home is not the right thing.
    It was very sad.
    I cannot force her to get help, she has to want it.
    She wants to stay here, she cannot.
    My hubs, who is usually the soft one who caves in, comforted me and said,
    "She is not ready to change her ways." That helped. It helps to be on the same page.

    We are trying our best to change our pattern and response. Sometimes the no contact, is our girls choice, they can go for months without calling, change their numbers and not let us know. It seems like a punishment, for us standing firm.
    That is rough, too.
    Meth and crack can make people unpredictable, mean and manipulative.
    This is what we have experienced.
    This is why it has been such a difficult journey for us.
    Especially when our grandchildren are withheld from us.

    We have tried so many times to "help", to have them in our home, when that call comes.....
    We know now, that doesn't work.
    No more revolving door.

    In the meantime, lots of work rebuilding ourselves and time in prayer. Also, thinking on the conversation we may, or may not have.
    We lovingly detached, our two are angry and do not want to talk with us.
    So, sometimes the no contact thing is unavoidable.
    This time, I am actually liking it.
    Aside from missing my grands, there is a peacefulness to it.

    Only time will tell, until then, lots of self work and house cleaning, mentally, physically and literally.

    Thank you for the share COM.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    The day before yesterday my sister and I were talking about our family (our aging parents and our younger brother, age 50, who is an alcoholic). He lives with our parents, and like most things, it's been a good thing and a bad thing. He works full time and "helps" them a lot---which has allowed (enabled) them to stay in their home past the point of making sense. Now they are all three mired in the muck. My mother **can't** move to a retirement community that she and my dad planned to go to because she **can't leave** her 50-year-old son who everybody knows is progressing in his disease. My dad is very very angry because his own son has taken his place in his home, and he has outbursts of rage that are getting out of control.

    After the latest outburst that my sister witnessed and was also targeted in, she told my parents they need counseling and they agreed to go and have been going.

    There was also a counseling session about my brother that my parents and my sister went to.

    That's actually my point here:

    The counselor said this very clearly. Your brother is much "better off" than you all are, you all who are being so hurt by his disease. His alcohol is his girlfriend, and he is perfectly happy in his little box that is his life. So quit feeling sorry for him.

    I think this is important to think about. We all get so caught up in the poor addict's/alcoholic's situation. After all, their lives are so different from ours---they are homeless, in jail, couch-surfing, begging, don't have any money for anything, crying and moaning and whining all the time about how awful their lives are.

    We look at their lives from our own position as their loving parents, and we cannot begin to imagine and it hurts us so much to watch someone we love live this kind of life.

    But on some level...often on many levels...this is working for them. None of us continue to do something is working on some level for us. We enable because we can't stand not to. That is again about US, not about THEM.

    They stay mired in their addictions because it's working for them. It's better than stopping. Their box (their life) gets smaller and smaller because they can control a smaller box. Addiction is very much about control (and many other things).

    I remember very clearly the day the counselor told me that my husband (now ex) was 100 percent responsible for his actions even though he was severely clinically depressed. That day was a big day for me because I had been going around tolerating all kinds of ridiculous behavior from him because I thought I had to and it was the right thing to do.

    People are accountable for their actions unless they are psychotic and don't know right from wrong. Our DCs are accountable for their joblessness, homelessness, crime, theft, taking drugs, lies, cursing at us, on and on and on.

    I think our seeing this is a huge shift for many of us, and a shift that can help as we work to detach with love from people who don't want to change, who don't want real help---they only want the kind of help that allows them to continue to do what they do.

    Now...I am not saying not to be compassionate toward a person who is mentally ill. I am saying that setting boundaries (kindly and gently) and learning how to detach with love---again, not a "mean" thing---is what we must do if they are to have a chance to change.

    If people are trying to change---really, truly trying---and that's hard to determine sometimes, then for me, I believe some help may be warranted---I qualify that because it's really easy to slip back into old patterns.

    Food for thought. Everybody's situation is different but I think these thoughts are worthy of our consideration.

    Happy Day After Thanksgiving! We survived!
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    This was helpful to me.

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Brilliantly stated COM.

    I did this too, because I believed that is what a loving mother did.

    That shift in perception, for me, was the change I needed to let go.

    Detachment freed both my daughter and I to move ahead with our separate lives.

    Boundaries, for me, were the basic necessary tools for me to learn to detach.

    The process of letting go is painful, as all change is, in particular the letting go of our "perceived" responsibilities as parents..........and yet it is the way, in my opinion, for freedom and peace of mind to emerge out of the chaos and suffering.

    Thanks COM.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Very true, COM, it works for them. When we broke down and allowed our daughter and grands to live with us over the summer, it worked for us, (well, we made it work) because we love our grands and hoped that our daughter really wanted to change. It worked for awhile, then slipped back into the same old same old. That didn't work. Not for us, not for the grands.
    I don't think Tornado and Volcano even think about what their choices and chaos do to anyone else.
    So, I guess it worked for them.
    The same is true for my eldest. My #2 girl said years past "You know mom, Rain went to the Dr. and was told she was depressed, that she should take medication." That opened up different feelings about her addiction, like we now had an obligation to step in, because she was "sick".
    Yes, this is true. Even if through addiction, there are mental health issues. There is still accountability.
    I am seeing this more and more.
    I don't even know how to measure the trying. With nary a word for months, then popping up at my door. I suppose for me, the measurement would be, what have you done to help yourselves? Or, in Rains case, all I could think of was a DV shelter, rehab, something. So many times they have come back and forth with promises. It will be hard to measure this, I think.

    Thank you COM.
    It is the same for our cousins, helping their d cs who are 50 or so. Somehow this works for them, but their lives are so chaotic. What happens when they die? Who will take care of these d cs?

    I had a workmate who's brother was in his 50's. His mom in her 80's battling breast cancer. The brother was just there. Not working, still expecting his ill mother to help him. My friend would cook for his mom, and tell me the brother would eat up all the food! Who does that?

    It is hard COM. Drugs do terrible things to people, rip families apart.

    I am now struggling with my numbness. I feel like I am in shock. I have had an emotional stroke of some sorts, the part of me that enabled is gone, and there is some sort of void there. Maybe it is an "avoid". Maybe I am walling that part off, to protect myself. It is puzzling.
    It feels like the eye of a hurricane, when you know the storm is not over, and there is nothing left to do but wait it out, till the other side of it passes. You see the damage done, and know that there is no sense in fixing it, because the winds and rains are still out there.
    The other side of chaos is approaching and the eye of the storm, the calm, is proof of it.
    It is what it is.

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Leafy, I think you're right when you talk about the "void." My experience was when I let go of my own enabling behavior, it left a very large empty space within interesting thing that occurred for me is that I began seeing various new "truths" in different areas of my I had the time and the energy to be open to real change...........and that change infiltrated every single area of my life. In the last 2 years, since I stopped the enabling with my daughter, my entire life has changed in ways I don't believe it could have changed before.

    For me, the healing of my own patterns of codependency ran deep. When the patterns broke up, I was left with quite a different reaction to my own life and my own choices and I began making small and then large changes which were healthier and more balanced and opened up new doors for me about loving and being loved. Making those changes wasn't easy, but with the focus of energy now on me, I was able to have the strength and the resolve to make them.

    At this point I am in awe of how something so devastatingly painful, with so much suffering, produced healthy changes in my life that were indeed necessary and timely and offered a new experience of intimacy, vulnerability, peace of mind, freedom and wholeness.
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  13. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Recovering, I guess that is part of it, the empty needs to be filled. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and posting, reading here. Searching the web for articles and lessons on dealing with the issue of enabling, substance abuse. It has helped tremendously.
    The weirdest thing, what I am writing about, is that holiday and all, I did not pine for my two. I guess it is...radical acceptance? I don't know, the feeling will change I suppose with time. It is sort of like exercising, and one hits a wall. The wall is all of those feelings, flooding in, the desperation, anxiety, anger, loss. Then I had to keep working, doing, being. I had to come through that wall. Now, it is this numbness, that has come over me. It is an odd "in between" feeling. Some days I feel it is peaceful, other days, puzzling. Maybe I feel guilty and weirded out, because of the numbness, like I am supposed to be feeling sad and out of sorts, or even angry.
    What kind of mother cannot conjure up feelings for their child?

    I guess I will just have to ride it out, and build myself up, and keep adding to my toolbox.

    I have to say, quite honestly, that I could probably try and seek out Tornado, reach out to her. I know where she works. I am hesitant, I do not know what to expect.
    Well, I do think she would be stand-offish, as usual.
    Am I stubborn? Am I non-feeling? Have I over-compensated, by turning off that part of me, that mother love? Detachment with numbness. Or, even, reality? Detachment with the reality, that over and over, I have tried to have a loving relationship, tried to be helpful, to no avail.
    My d cs have such venom for me.
    What do I do with that? What is a loving parent to do, with the venom?
    I am a very sensitive person, but I can be stubborn, too.
    I am obstinately avoiding putting myself out there to try and contact my daughter, because I feel, if she felt different or has changed her thinking, she would call me. I was absolutely hurt and angry and now numb, over her litany of swearing, yelling and verbal abuse that preceded the latest exodus. I don't even know if she remembers what she said, but it was terrible. I feel, she should call and apologize. I do not even know if that will ever come.
    Right, now, I am holding to that.The expectation of an apology. Am I being childish in this?
    Loving detachment. It is a conundrum for me at this juncture.
    I love my two d cs, but the years of this, has taken it's toll on me.
    I am way past the point of excusing bad behavior."It's not your daughter, it's the drugs".
    I have taken the viewpoint of, "It is my daughter-my daughter on drugs, or tweaking - not on drugs, and in that rage of not being high." It is still her. Her choice, her words, her disrespect.
    This is where I am trying to get to Recovering. I think I am making steps towards that. I also know that I need to keep building my toolbox, for when the time comes, or doesn't come, to be able to stand firm.

    Thank you Recovering, for sharing this. I will keep working on it. I think it will come in stages, like grieving. Maybe I have hit acceptance, and I do not know how that feels.
    I am glad that you have come through the fire, a diamond.

    It is a very hopeful, encouraging thing to read of.

    Thank you so much
  14. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member

    Thank you child of mine. What you said helps a lot.
  15. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Leafy, Having 2 Difficult Child's has got to be a challenge..I am glad that you were able to have a decent Thanksgiving even so.
    It must have been very painful to see her walk and to let her go. We are hard wired to care for our kids especially when we see them suffering. Glad you are getting some peace now.
    Actually, the thought of the suffering can reduce me to tears. Notice I say the thought of the suffering..Because the moment that I start crying may not even be a bad moment in my Difficult Child's life. I guess it's grief management and FEAR, which in Alanon we say is an acronym for FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. Trying to save grieving when there is a cause of which I am made aware. But I still go there somedays..
    At other times, as you stated, I can be peaceful and calm, more often when there is no you are experiencing.
    What a dance we have to dancing in a mine field sometimes..
    My son refused to leave his apartment, no electricity, heat, gas. I am trying to live fully and take care if myself, just getting over flu and a pain in my head for days..I know I am run down. Trying to stay in today..Eviction will take a while they say..want to be in best physical health I can be..
    Painting helps..Are you doing your clay work?
    Thinking of you tonight and shooting you love,
  16. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Loving this discussion...So true so true..I have been so down at times, over Difficult Child's situation only to learn someone else helped him and he is doing fine...Trying to do my own life...You know the joke about when the codedpendent is about to die, someone else's life flashes before his eyes!! Don't want thst to be me. A whole life focused on someone else's life EVEN if it is my child.
    Leafy I get numb at times too. Well said about the "eye".. But heck if it's calm I'll take it..I'm Scarlet O'hara, I'll worry about that storm tomorrow. I now recognize such situations like being in this moment. as little gifts from the universe..
    So grateful to be part of this extraordinary group!
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Carolita, it is a challenge with two d c's, one with three children. It is tough. We are all going through rough times, aren't we?
    We were able to have a nice dinner despite everything. It is always nice to be with my children who are doing well. They are really good people who love their family.
    Yes, it was hard to let her go, especially the shape she is in. If she is not ready to get help, then it would be the same thing all over again. I don't even know what to think anymore.
    Yup, it is management alright. It takes work to overcome this thing. But, we are worth it Carolita.
    I love that, yes dancing in a mine field. I think what happens is we can get knocked off of our feet with it from time to time. It is ok to go through the feelings, then regroup and get back on track with our lives. Count our blessings. My moms favorite saying, is "There by the grace of God, go I." So, I have three healthy children who are doing really well. I have my wits about me, for now at least, heh, heh. So, I need to do the best I can do to live.
    This does take a toll on our bodies, that is for sure. I had to deal with the flu, too. Yuck. The eviction, does it affect you legally? That is rough Carolita. Yes, stay strong for when the time comes.

    My clay class is coming to an end, but will start up again in January. I am busy glazing my pieces I made for gifts, so that is a good distraction and is fulfilling. I have a bunch of blank canvasses waiting, I haven't painted in a long time. I am looking forward to getting back to it.
    This is so true. I think that my focus was so keenly on trying to help my two out, especially my grands, it really has been a whirlpool of turmoil and disruption. I get sad/mad when I think of my grands, they did not ask for this. We tried to step in for them. My daughter ended up using them as a sort of weapon. It is sad.
    I am grateful to be here as well. What a ragtag group we are. You know Carolita, it is a blessing to have folks to communicate with who are in the trenches. No one, no one can understand this, except those who have walked in our shoes. I used to talk with my older sis, she pretty much told me recently she doesn't want to hear about it anymore. Her son is doing fine, and she doesn't understand the road we were on, struggling to help. It is okay, that is her feeling. I can see how it would get to folks after a while, especially if they are removed from it, haven't experienced the whirlwind of it.
    I need to get back on track and focus on the healing. Focus on living, really living. Even if I am in the "eye" at least I am aware that the storm will come at me, and I can prepare myself for it. Got to keep that toolbox handy!
    Thank you Carolita, for being here and sharing, and caring.
    The rain has stopped and a cool breeze blows.
    Breath in, breath out.
  18. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member

    Thank you al, for your words of wisdom. I know exactly how you feel. I am so greatful that I found this group of people I do not feel so alone. We made it through thanksgiving. We had 2 celebrations, the first at my in-laws, Difficult Child was there started whispering things to me and hubby. I was able to go to a different area, I did not let it ruin my day. Hubby got very down. We went to 2nd celebration at my sisters. We thought Difficult Child would show up because sister talks to him sometimes. Sister told me she did not think Difficult Child would show because she got angry with him again for things he tried to say on Facebook. Anyway, I like what you all said about feeling numb, that is how I think I am feeling. I just do not really feel anything. Difficult Child called I have not been taking his calls not sure why I answered but I did. He said hearlier did not make it to 2nd celebration because he was locked up. Do not really hear anything else he said because it's usually lies. I find that anything he tells me I really do not hear because of being lied to for so long. I know he is young (18) but after reading on this site and talking to you all I believe he has a better chance of turning things around. Leafy, I am sure with grandkids involved it is even harder. I am so sorry. It seems strange to be able to feel at peace when Difficult Child is not trying to contact me, I never thought I would get to that point. I know the peace will come and go just as the worry will. It is getting colder and Difficult Child will run out of couches to surf but there are homeless shelters. If he does not land in jail first he has several warrants out for his arrest. I have been feeling like I do not know what to do because I spent so much time (years ) trying to help him. I am learning when to help and when not to, thanks to all of you. Difficult Child knows right from wrong and that he has mental illnesses. He was brought up in the same loving Christian home as his older brother. Older brother is wonderful doing great, got married this summer. Wanted Difficult Child to be in wedding Difficult Child did not show up. I know I am all over the place, thanks for sticking with me. Hugs to all of you. Hopeful
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    When drugs are involved, I think the drugs become the main focus of their lives. My daughter was so different when she used. It was as if she had turned into somebody else and, now that she quit, back again.