Christmas was harder than I thought it would be

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Payla, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Payla

    Payla New Member

    After working so hard to have healthy detachment with my 33 year old difficult child for past horrendous 6 months, I was feeling pretty strong and thought Chrtistmas would be fine. I hadmy granddaughter here for 6 days ( his daughter) and I knew I would see him as I agreed to arrange a few meetings for them. One was at my daughters home and one was at a restaurant . For those unfamiliar with the saga I thought I had a restraining order but found out it has never been served. I do have a no trespassing order for which there is a warrant on him for when he came to our house begging for gas money and then drove away when my husband told him the police were coming . Anyway, the visits were so painful for me! All he wanted to do was repeat same stories he has been telling for over a year about why he can't find work why he needs us to give him money to go to a per diem job far away, living in his car etc etc... He repeats the same lines over and over. he was pretty distraught and I wanted to scream I felt so badly for him while at same time I was so angry and tired of it all. He wasn't even focused on his daughter. It was too much for me. We even gave him gas money for the millionth time so he could drive to see her!!! It felt like all the work I had done was down the toilet. Seeing him as someone with such a personality disorder or mental illness or whatever just made me so depressed. It was like I gave up hope that he will change and I now expect something awful like jail. I am getting back to my routine after being the sole center of holiday entertainment for 3 generations and I will prepare for more antics this winter. My therapist says this is just the beginning of the process of him growing up. Just the beginning?!? I m worn out with worry for how this will all turn out.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Payla. I'm sorry that your hoped for outcome did not result from the meeting. Obviously it's necessary for you to work some more on your Detachment skills. It is so hard to accept the things we can not change because we so strongly want to make things "better". Try to make 2013 better for you. Only time will tell if your son is capable of improving his life but sadly that is his job. Hugs DDD
  4. Rabbit

    Rabbit Member

    Sending Hugs
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Geez, I am so sorry Payla. I can so relate to all your feelings. It is so very difficult to see them in person when they are in the throes of their personality disorder/mental illness. I don't believe you can measure detachment in a normal linear fashion, not when it comes to our is clearly a process and you've done a wonderful job. All your work didn't dissolve, it's another step along the way which makes you stronger. Just like it's a process for him to grow up, it's a process for us to let go. Don't be hard on yourself, you are doing the very best job you can under horrible circumstances. It's very good you have a therapist, I really don't know how parents can do this without support, because it's so hard on us.

    My daughter and your son sound so similar, my daughter has been talking about getting a job for 1 year and she is about to be ousted from the home she's been living in. When I know the details my mind begins to automatically move into how I can fix it. It's much better for me when I don't know the details and I don't see her. Over the last year I've set those boundaries but, like you, I put them aside for the holidays and like you, I suffered in that choice. I'm not sure what I will do next year during the holidays if things are, God forbid, the same.

    You went through all that anguish and you gave him some gas money, that doesn't constitute falling off the detachment held your own under very trying circumstances and didn't cave in and give him what he was asking for or drag him back to the safety of your home. I think you did what most of us would do under the same circumstances when seeing their child in such a desperate and scary place. The worry you're now experiencing is what you can work on, how to let that go, that's what I work on too. Our fears for them. That's really the only thing we have any control over, so that's where to put our energies. You have all the tools available to you, your therapist, your husband, your girlfriends, your self care.

    I have worried a lot about my difficult child in jail too. Some of that worry has dissipated as I realize that because of my difficult child's bad choices which put her in harms way and risky places, she may actually be safer in jail. I think the hardest thing on me is having to continually come to new conclusions, give up my expectations, face the reality head on and the recognition that this may be the way it is, it may not get any better and I have to make a lot of adjustments in my thinking about that. There is a lot to let go of. My daughter is in her life doing whatever she is doing, I am the one who has done a lot of work to accept what is and Payla, it is one hard road with many minefields and deep holes to fall in. You're doing a very good job, the best job you can do under the circumstances you are facing. Stay strong. Keep well supported. Try to find that joy again.............gentle hugs for you..........
  6. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Wow. Thank you so so much RE. I AM IN TEARS reading your reply and take so much comfort from your support. I will keep working to find peace and I have been able to when I don't talk to him for awhile. You nailed it about knowing the details of ther lives and how your mind goes into fix it mode. I just worked in my greenhouse for 3 hours and now I am going grocery shopping and for a manicure pedicure! Then escape reality watching Downton Abbey PBS series; it is so good.
  7. Payla

    Payla New Member

    RE, I'm so wrapped up in my own problems, i neglected to say to please take hugs and good wishes from me for your journey. You are a wonderful person.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks for your kind words. Today my granddaughter and I are going to Sephora, a fun place for us to shop. Then out to dinner with my SO and his son's family and my granddaughter and her boy friend. Life moves on..........I'm happy you found solace today, I will too and that's how we do this thing, one moment at a time.............we're comrades on this crazy journey! Enjoy your moments! (((HUGS)))
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Payla, I'm sorry to hear that the Christmas was difficult for you. I honestly don't know how any one of us could possibly detach successfully from our kids and interact with them. You're a good mom to try to accomodate contact between him and his child. Did she enjoy it, or was it difficult for her? I know it was difficult for you. If she was uncomfortable and you were uncomfortable, maybe someone else needs to be his touchstone with her. If he can't find anyone, maybe that is his burden, and maybe he will meet it.

    In the meantime, you did what you could to make things right for everyone, and that is nothing to regret. Like our dear Fran always said, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got." There has to come a time in his life that he becomes responsible for seeing his child at Christmas. If that's what he wants, he should start working on that now. If he doesn't, how much does he really want it?
  10. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you Witsend. She was fine and happy to see him. She did notice the tension between us but it was not a huge deal. I think unfortunately she is used to the theme of him being a problem because her mother has argued with him over the phone for years over lack of child support. I am not going to go to the lengths I did this Christmas for him to see her anymore. It is normal for her to only see him occasionally so its not like she is pining for him; she has a wonderful home with her Mom and grandparents in another state and is a very happy well adjusted child. I'm starting to see that this is one more area of his life where he depends on me to facilitate seeing her. Maybe if he feels the pain of not seeing her if he try to figure out how to do it himself. (history says no). I love her dearly but I not only had to put up with him, I had to do everything he would have done with her like sledding, skating, playing etc... While it was great making memories with her I was exhausted! I already told my husband we are going away next Christmas, it was just too much.
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Payla, it might be time for his daughter to see that he makes no effort to spend time with her, as painful as that is. The fact that you will have this in common (not seeing him, or not wanting the drama he brings) might help her accept it, or at least be able to have you there to talk about it with her.
  12. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    For me detachment is a process, one step forward, one step backwards, one step forward, etc... I think I'm beginning to take a few more steps forward and a few less steps backwards. I don't have any grandchildren (yet), but imagine when I do, it'll be that much harder...

    I love your way of thinking - Love that you and husband are are planning to go away next Christmas! SFR
  13. Payla - I think going away for Christmas next year might be a great idea. husband and I have done it many times to get away from family drama and have some peace in our lives at that time of year. It has worked well for us.

    I'm sorry that the roller coaster picked you back up this Christmas. I think that a lot of people here have some very sound advice and thoughts on detachment and the process of detaching. I am just in the beginning stages and understand what you are going through.

    Hugs - hope you are feeling better.
  14. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you all, this forum is like a life line. I am finding that I am much better at this point with no contact. The anxiety and stress and sadness seeing him in this state of just wanting us to bail him out, and having the same conversation with him that I have had a million times is just too draining. And I am sure it is not helping him. The doubt of whether or not to "help" him has really subsided so detachment is strong this week. I'll take it!