Checking in with some "after we said it" shakiness

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Feeling okay now, but it seems every day between about 10AM-2PM I am in a plan old funk. Difficult to feel joy and hope.

    I am just needing to put some stuff out there, and there's always the chance somebody will come hold my hand again.

    As far as husband and I know, gfg32 has arrived at his destination by now (He was to fly out today...1500 miles away---no place to stay---ex girlfriend has a restraining order on him). husband and I suspect he will try all sorts of guilt, etc. to get her to let him stay with her a day or two. She told me yesterday she was picking him up at the airport! My brother said that restraining order will be thrown out if she does. Okay, I am to stay in the moment, but I'll just slip this in real fast. gfg32 will get smug and braver and do something else stupid and exgf will get another restraining order and he will land up in jail. He never respects boundaries.

    I called my brother this afternoon, just for a sounding board. My brother is a judge. About 13 years ago, the first time gfg32 started having trouble with the law (another girlfriend, another restraining order), I mentioned mental illness to my brother. At the time, he sad something like, I think he's just an :censored2:****. That is the only time I have heard my brother curse, lol. I kinda wanted to believe that. Now, of course, my brother feels differently.

    I told my brother about this site and how I had read much about not putting mentally ill out...and I have also read this on the NAMI discussion boards. So, guilt was seeping and starting to settle. My brother assured me that husband and I did the right thing...that there was nothing we could do for gfg32 in that department because gfg32 is still far from admitting he has a problem. He blames, blames, blames.

    My guess is the guilt ebbs and flows and takes a while to disappear?

    This is not funny (at all), but husband and I were talking about the only relief we have had in the last 15 years was when gfg32 was incarcerated (horrible experience for us), sponging off my parents (that only lasted a few months) or sponging off the last girlfriend.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Living with uncertainty is what you are trying to learn to do. It takes a while.

    Most of us like to manage our worlds enough to have a somewhat certain outlook. We have enough to pay the bills, we have a place to go to earn money tomorrow, our friends today will still be our friends tomorrow, the sun will come up again.

    Living with a difficult child we love so very much is learning to live with daily uncertainty. What will they do next? Usually it's a new worst.

    We could never even have imagine the things they have done. Homelessness, jail, arrests, taking drugs, being with people who are dangerous, they themselves being dangerous, flunking out of college, losing everybody and everything again and again. This is not who we raised or anything about the home they grew up in.

    I never even knew anybody who went to jail or had been in jail (that I knew of). I remember the first time he was arrested and went to jail, I thought I would die from the grief and the pain. He was fairly okay as far as I could see. I was feeling the pain. Looking back, there was already something wrong with that picture.

    Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face … You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

    There is a lot of material out there on living with uncertainty. It is helping me and I am learning that actually, all of life is uncertain. I just get my mind in a place that makes uncertain things more certain so I can be more comfortable.

    Your son has everything you taught him inside him. It is a foundation we gave them. One day, they will draw on that again. They will turn to that foundation and maybe it will help save them.

    It is their decision. They are the only ones who can make it. It's our job to be there once they make that decision. Until then, we need to learn how----maybe for the first time ever---to let them go and live our own lives with joy, gratitude and love.

    Keep coming back. I also highly recommend Al-Anon; it has saved my life and helped me become a better person.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't know if he is mentally ill. You can be a total jerk and not really have a mental illness. More likely, perhaps he has a personality disorder, such as antisocial or narcissistic or both (common). People with these disorders do not feel that normal rules apply to them and don't even think they are doing anything wrong and rarely get help.

    There is a difference between somebody with bipolar, who is a good person when he is not ill, and one with a serious personality disorder that is basically willing to throw anyone under the bus to get what he wants, including breaking the law. I think many of our difficult children are a bit antisocial and narcissistic, even those who have other real mental illnesses. And that is why they have so much trouble with life, rules and relationships.

    I think 36 has a bit of both of those in him. He also has anxiety disorder, but the anxiety disorder is not what makes him so unlikeable when he isn't getting his way. It's the other stuff.

    Keep telling yourself that your son is 32. It doesn't really matter why he is like he is. He is making a decision to con and cheat people, to lie to victims and to charm them, to do anything to get his own way. I hope you didn't pay his plane fare, but if you steps.

    It is we, the parents who have strong consciences, who feel badly about the way they violate the rights and boundaries and emotions of others. It appalls us because we can feel empathy for the victims of our difficult children. It is NOT the difficult children who feel bad. Anything seems to be ok to our grown babies, as long as they get what they want.

    Keep reminding yourself that this is not the little boy you gave birth to. He is close to middle age and is willing to say or do anything, even lie or break the law, to get his way. It has nothing to do with you. It just is what it is.

    If he ends up in jail, in my opinion it's best to let natural consequences take their course. Although our adult kids are not empathetic toward others, they don't like being inconvenienced themselves. Jail is an inconvenience. Perhaps they learn to stay within the lines of the law if they find jail distasteful and realize that their family is not going to bail them out?

    Big hugs for your fear, your discarded hopes, and your love that is not returned the right way. Hang in there. Once you see your son the way he REALLY is, I think it will be easier to detach from his manipulations. Our adult kids are very smart and very good at "playing" us. We don't have to play back. Your son is a tranwreck right now, but you can not fix him. He is obviously bright and can learn to get along in society, but that choice is his and his alone. You can not take that journey with him.

    If you can, try to enjoy your husband and your loved ones who are nice to you and do something really special for yourself. Hey, just a warm bubble bath with scented cancles and maybe some champagne to wash down the difficult child (lol) is a good start. Or put on that Victoria Secret nightie for hubby. Or just walk the dog together. Call a friend up for coffee. Go to a store and buy yourself something perfectly wonderful with no value to it at all. But start now...being good to yourself because YOU DESERVE IT :)
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thanks, as always. The words you come up with are always SO helpful, so what husband and I need to hear and remember and/or practice.

    We are talking about taking a little one or two night jaunt somewhere. Perhaps early next week.

    We did not buy him the ticket. The dad of the friend gfg32 has stayed with the last week least that is what we were told. gfg32's words to his dad on the phone yesterday included, You were never a father. Mr. ****** cares more about me than you. He spent $600 on a ticket for me while you do nothing. And, his dad was/is a great dad..spent so much time with him, coached his T-Ball teams, baseball teams, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, played ball with him, took him to movies. Last night, when it took forever to fall asleep, and i could hear husband's asleep breathing, I felt so badly for husband --but he does know he was a great dad.

    I do think this disengaging will help husband and me get a clearer picture of who our son really is. Several years ago, we had no contact with him for over a year. He would call my cell about once a month and hang up. When i would call back, he never picked up. I told myself it was his way of letting us know he was alive.

    Oh, his sister is a psychological examiner. She told us a year or so ago, "I am not diagnosing him, but I suggest you look up anti-social behavior disorder". Oh my! yep, that would be our son. From what i read, no medications help much but cognitive therapy can. (Though, I feel he might benefit from anti-anxiety medication)....But, until he wants help, that doesn't really matter.

    Beer tonight for husband and me.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have a great time :)

    36 was always empathy-challenged. I did not want to face that he didn't care about others the way most people do. But once I admitted it to myself, I realized that this is somebody who cares about one person...himself. And I deal with him from that perspective.

    The fact that your adult son thinks another parent cares more about him because he gave him money shows you how shallow he is. Love is not about the money you throw at an adult child. It is so much deeper than that. Anyone can throw money at does not indicate love. I really shake my head at how these difficult children think. Bet after the year of no contact was up, he contacted you either because he was in trouble or he wanted money. That's how they are. Understand, not just YOUR son, but most of our difficult children. They have very little interest in us unless we can bail them out of their horrible choices or fund them.

    I think your daughter is a smart young woman. Why not have a mom/daughter shopping trip with her, another I find it more peaceful and happy to spend time with those who are good to me. Honestly, it was a brand new concept to me, when I learned it, that I mattered as much as my own children do. But I've learned to embrace that. This is meaning my grown kids...I still have one who is seventeen. She still needs our support and we are happy to give her the whole of our hearts, which is most important, because she is such a loving, caring girl.

    It's funny how our well behaved, respectful kids, both adult and children, get the numbers of our manipulative difficult children before we do. My seventeen year old rolls her eyes every time 36 calls, even though of late it is not always a "bad" phone call. She has often asked, "Why do you even talk to him? He's so mean to you."

    I would say, "Well...he IS my son."

    She would say, "He sure doesn't act like it, Mom. He talks to you like you're garbage. I sure don't want to talk to him. Hope I never have to again."

    She could hear him talking on his end of the phone conversation because he'd be screaming.

    I don't think she will ever like him. None of his siblings do.
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    This is all just my opinion...

    Talk about denial??? The friends dad didn't pay $600 because he cares about your difficult child he probably did it because he wanted him out of his house, off his couch (with-his tv remote) and away from his kid!

    I myself hate texting (I don't do it)don't really like having a cell phone unless away from home (only time I turn mine on). I came late to conversation the other day so it was too late to suggest you (knowing he had dad's #) when wanted him to talk to dad instead of you didn't turn off your cell and throw it in a drawer?

    I always try to leave myself plausible deny ability when dealing with difficult child's (or school people LOL) like "texts? I lost my phone 3 days ago..."

    Think I'll have some wine tonight (note to mods: yes I'll unplug my keyboard and not do any plastered posting ever again promise LOL)

  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So many of us lose our marriages over the sadness and sense of loss that pervades everything when the focus is too much on difficult child. Very happy to know you and husband are coping together instead of tearing into one another.

    Good for you! It isn't easy.

    We hear all the time about how other families behave like families and husband and I do not. During the thick of his addiction, our son wanted a duplex. That way, he would have a place to live, and the rent from the other side would pay the bills. He still has such a sense of betrayal because we refused to do that. (!) That seems to be how they think. According to both kids, other families open their homes to their grown kids with no move out date, mortgage their homes to start their children in businesses, send "enough" money at one time for it to matter instead of just enough to help with rent or utilities.

    We don't know what to make of it, either. It is good to understand that all difficult child kids say things like this, but it is still so hurtful.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seeking strength, all of those up and down, did I do the right thing, could I be wrong, should I have done more.............all of it is the usual path of detachment.........we second guess ourselves, we go all over the map with our feelings for's emotionally exhausting. These are our kids, we are up against something most parents will never have to deal with, we are letting go, we are doing the the face of their perceived "needs" we are turning our goes against everything we believe we SHOULD be doing. It takes a little time to let that all go. But, if you stay the course, this will all get easier.

    Yes, that guilt does ebb and flow and take awhile to disappear..........detachment is not linear. It is a lot like the 5 stages of grief.........denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Not necessarily in any order. It is living in the land of uncertainty. It is learning what the Buddhists call impermanence. I am reading a really good book which is quite helpful to me, not only about difficult child's but about life, it's called Comfortable with uncertainty by Pema Chodron. You might want to pick it up. Another good book is The power of Now, by Echart Tolle.

    If your son has a personality disorder, like many of our kids do, his irrational, entitled, manipulative, selfish, odd way of being is disconcerting and difficult for us to get a handle on. My daughter just emailed me that her car needs repairs, her phone was being turned off and she didn't pay her probation bill............then mentioned that her roommate spent $600 on his dog and her final comment was........"I guess the dog is more important." Her belief is that everyone around her SHOULD pay her bills and take care of her and if they don't, they quickly turn into jerks. Once this present jerk stops the help, she moves on to the next one. I was one of the "jerks" for awhile, but now I am barely on the radar screen of her life. That is skewered thinking which was very difficult for me to understand and accept.......but I learned to accept it and once I did, I could say to myself, she is who she is..............end of story. Her behavior stopped impacting me. It was a bit of a climb to reach that, but it is possible.

    They will only get help when THEY want help. We can't make a lick of difference in that. It's important to stop trying and get on with your lives. I applaud your getting away with husband. My SO and I have dates every weekend and we go to the ocean or the city for the whole day, or the have to learn to take the focus off of your son and place it back on you and husband and find your joy and your peace and your sense of awe and wonder. Our kids can rob of us so much with their antics, until we wake up and reclaim our own lives, our own joy and sense of're doing a good job, stay the course.............
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  9. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Our public library has Power of Now (I just searched online catalog). I'll check it out this afternoon.

    It is extremely helpful when you guys share that it will get easier. husband and I know, deep down, we are doing the only thing we can do, but it must get easier. We definitely need to plan some things to take our minds off of this mess. And, it helps a lot to think that Right now he is okay and we are okay.

    You folks have shared so many strategies and given such great advice. I log onto this site several times a day, hoping there are new posts...not just responses to my posts...I devour all the posts because they all help....even when it is just to know my family is not the only ones going through this kind of thing. I have read back several pages and was relieved to see that the advice is not (by a long shot) always detachment. I believe that you guys clearly saw how manipulative gfg32 is and you could more objectively give the detachment advice....just writing a small part of it made it easier for me to see!! husband and I had (almost)reached the conclusion detachment was the proper thing. We just needed to hear it was okay.

    And, he is 32. Somebody advised me to quit thinking of him as that sweet little boy. That is exactly what i do - a lot. I know you are right; with time, husband and I will see him more for who he really is. And, that you know what, I will not talk to him unless he can be civil. period.
  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of spending time with your daughter...if your family is like so many of ours, difficult child has sucked up more than his allotment of air. She might really like (and you both might benefit) from some mom-daughter time, focused on her and on you...try not to talk about difficult child. You may already be doing this..and if you are, that is great.

    Regarding sweet little boys (that may have been me, since I both say and think that a lot, although I suspect others do too).. for me, there is the memory of the sweet boy. And then there is the young man infront of me whom I would no way, no how, spend any time with whatsoever, if he were not my son. I don't let people who can't be trusted and who never keep their word into my why am I letting him have such a large chunk of it? That thought helps me sometimes when I want to go too far.
  11. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    This really rang a bell with me, SS.Your husband can join that exclusive club of good dads who are now rejected by their adult children. My husband was a devoted father who would love to have a better relationship with our son. His "mistake"? Refusing to enable him while he was living here.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014