Codependent no more ...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by katya02, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    It's been a very up and down week. On the good side, difficult child went to his first group session at the outpatient rehab program in town. And husband went with me to our first family education session connected with the program - and he was very impressed and vowed to go to the rest of the sessions. Hooray! The counselor in charge has long experience and talked to us for an hour after the class. It was the most helpful thing I can think of for husband.

    The counselor loaned me the book 'Codependent No More', which I've nearly finished. I've been working at stepping back when I feel upset or angry and analyzing it more, and leaving responsibility where it belongs.

    Another good thing is that difficult child has started working! And he likes his job and the people there! Big bonus!

    On the down side, difficult child has exhibited some major Borderline (BPD) traits this week. He came home from the rehab session gloomy and angry, and immediately began telling me he didn't know I was so angry with him (?) and that no matter what he does, it'll never be enough, and he's hopeless, and nothing will ever get better, and life is not worth living. Then he stomped into the house and returned having cut his arms up pretty well, all very superficial but plenty of cuts. Then he went on for almost two hours sobbing and accusing. When I get up and leave sessions like this he escalates badly; I ended up staying and feeling like I'd been beaten by a two-by-four. Since then I've decided that, escalation or no, I'm not going to sit through another verbal beating like that. I'm going to walk away.

    I think difficult child felt bad and/or angry about the group session and needed to project the bad feelings, pronto. Knowing what's happening intellectually doesn't make it less hurtful, though. difficult child also had a major accusatory conversation with husband this week, and husband was stunned. He hasn't been subject to one until now. He spoke to difficult child about drinking, because difficult child had a major drinking bout and we found him passed out in the morning. difficult child went hysterical (once conscious) and punched himself in the face repeatedly, giving himself a black eye and a swollen right cheek. Then he accused husband of being a bad father in every possible way.

    husband is not at the point where he'll call the police on difficult child for drinking, nor will he evict him for that. But he's quickly coming to that point. He's been depressed all week as he mulls over what difficult child's behaviors mean.

    So difficult child has worked almost all week at his job and enjoyed it, and all seems to be going well. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I'm also hopeful that the rehab program will help our family.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know this isnt really exactly the situation because you are dealing with a child not a girlfriend or boyfriend...but this is a poem about a borderline person who cuts. As a borderline who does this it really spoke to me because it describes my feelings to a T when my emotions get so out of control...which is on a pretty consistent basis.

    To the Non Borderline (BPD) in my life.


    I know I love you. do you know it?
    I love you in a way that is more powerful than you could believe.
    I am never in doubt of my love for you...
    I love you even in the darkest depths of rage and hatred, though I can not feel it then..
    I cant let you know this, even though I long to tell you..
    If you knew it you might be able to hurt me.. again. and again.

    I am afraid. such encompassing fear as you will never be able to know.
    I am afraid that I will push you too far.
    I fear for our lives. our love.
    I am afraid of the pain and loneliness. yet I live each day with it.
    I am afraid to trust you. yet I do...
    If I trust you you could hurt me over and over...and you do.

    When I hurt, I hurt worse than you could ever believe possible.
    I want to die when I hurt.. I feel as if I am dying.
    I want to die when I believe that you are the one hurting me...
    I think you hate me... I know what I am.. I have seen it.
    somewhere I know better.. somewhere there is love... but I cant feel it now...
    I want to scream for you to love me... to hold me... to rescue me... but I cant. I am afraid.
    If you heard that you might be able to hurt me...again.

    Franticly I Rage at you, wanting you to hurt too.
    you turn away... it is never enough... I always hurt more.
    You don't see.. you cant see... what it is to be me.
    I Hear what I words a pale shadow against the emotions within me.
    I want you to see I can hurt you too..... but.... it is never enough...
    why aren't you crying?!
    Maybe if you loved me more you would feel like I do,
    your love is never enough.....I always love more..

    Maybe I am not worthy of your love...
    unworthy... unworthy...unworthy.... it echoes in my thoughts
    I scream silently for help... hoping, wishing, praying, that it will be different this time.
    Crying because I cant say that, how badly I need to... I want to.....I cant
    If you heard that you might be able to hurt me ..again.

    Unworthy I am filled with hate....
    I hate you for making me feel unwanted when I love you so much...
    I hate you for not seeing how much I need you to save me...
    I hate myself for being too afraid to say it out loud.
    I hate you for not loving me enough to help me.
    I hate you for not crying like I am..
    I hate myself for the cutting things I say.
    I hate you for loving me when I hate you.. because I cant feel love...Right now.
    it all boils over....

    I hurt.... I hate.. I fear......I want to die.

    I lie alone on the floor sobbing.
    hating myself for the monster within..
    Hating myself for the things I've said..
    Hating you for not rescuing me...
    Hating the fact that I live....
    I hurt ... I feel I am dying inside.
    The pain kills me.. it is torture

    I wonder why you couldn't just love me..
    Cant you see I'm a frightened child?
    you turned away when I needed you...
    how could you not see past the anger to the pain..
    it hurts me... you didn't care to look...
    you didn't want to help me....

    I live and I hurt... and I hurt you..
    I should die so I wont hurt like this.
    I should die to free you from this hell.
    You told me to go ahead... kill myself..
    now I know my worth to you.
    But I couldn't. you wouldn't do it.... I asked you to...
    I tried but I couldn't... I love you too much..
    I want to.. I want to die... but I love you.
    I love you but you abandon me time after time.

    You hate the scars on me... I try not to cut...,
    But if I cant die how else to punish myself ?
    I am unworthy... you want me dead.. I am unloved...
    It has happened again... like I knew it would
    such shame in this... such fear... I want to die.
    the knife is so shiny... I can feel it.. I long for it..
    the hot sting that will free me... I cant... I shouldn't...

    the silent plea comes again..
    weaker this time... help me.. love me... please..I'm so sorry...
    but you cant hear that... you wouldn't believe it.. and I cant say it.
    I want to... I am so alone and afraid...
    Hurting and hating
    I see the way you look at me...
    you said to do it...
    How could someone I love so much not love me too?
    you wont save me.... I hurt.. you want me to die...
    I am such a monster that you want me to die..
    kill myself? it hurts so bad... I cant escape and I cant die..
    Pain numbs pain...
    Maybe Ill just bleed instead..

    Then your arms shelter me, the storm is over...
    you tenderly wipe the blood from me.
    I sit limply.. heartbroken.. betrayed.. aching
    Crying into your chest, long wracking sobs, wailing as if to wake the dead
    your tears fall into my hair as you hold me..
    loving me the best you know how... not understanding... afraid.
    looking up into your eyes filled with fear myself..
    I whisper... I'm sorry...
    we cry and hold each other... both alone...and afraid.. but hoping this time will be the last.
    knowing it wont be...
    slowly you rock me.. I rock you... I wonder how you see me..
    I am tired, drained, safe at last in your arms.
    the tension leaves me and the memory of the past hour fades quickly...
    leaving a headache and the echoing words...
    Save me.....
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, Janet. That is powerful. I have heard so many of those words from Oldest .. I thought, as I was reading it, about emailing it to her, in fact.. she does not think she is borderline. It's heartbreaking to read it. She doesn't cut.. but .. the feelings expressed are so like her, they echo things she's said, things she's implied. On second thought, sending it to her might give her the wrong impression. It might feed into her insecurity, at this stage, since she is unwilling to get any help. She just lashes out and bounces back, back and forth, day to day. She wants so much from me, that I can't give her. Or that I have given her, but she doesn't see it. I'm not making much sense...

    Anyway. Thank you for posting that.

    Codependent No More is an excellent book ... I gave away my copy years ago and have been thinking of buying another. I do have its sequel, "Beyond Codependency," and have been re-reading that lately. It's a never ending process.
  4. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    When difficult child showed his cuts to my daughter, she asked him why. He told her, 'this hurts less than the pain I have'.

    Thank you for sharing the poem, Janet. It makes me cry because it sounds just like difficult child. With him, everything is intense. He can be intensely joyous, intensely loving (and starts to feel hurt quickly if he doesn't perceive others being equally demonstrative to him), and when he needs to hurt someone else or project his own hurt, he does that intensely too.

    When he has a really upsetting crisis, with self-punching or cutting and accusations, it affects me physically for days. I feel exhausted, depleted, and unable to take on things that need to be done. I used to be able to cope with upsets and keep going, but now it feels like my adrenals are just worn out, or something ... after all these years I have no more resilience.
    I say I'll walk away when the accusations start but so far I haven't been able to, because of the intensity of his upset.

    Janet, do you have some advice about how I could be with difficult child in a helpful way when he's upset, that might be somewhat less draining for me? Or something I could do or say that would help calm him more quickly? Thanks.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL...I wish I did have helpful advice. I keep telling my husband to hold me but that wouldnt work for a grown child. He doesnt think it would work for me either when I get in one of my fits but I dont know. I might get mad at the moment but...ya know?

    There is an excellent book called Stop walking on eggshells which I havent read because everyone who IS borderline says that it is mean to I havent read it. I may do it one day though because I seem to be on the more rational edge of borderline...maybe my age. I can actually see my faults pretty darn clearly.

    I still have trouble with trust and lashing out when I am in pain. Or perceived pain. I want others to hurt first. I havent cut in awhile but I still have intense anger issues that manifest in the same intense feelings. I hit, yell, pound walls. I can be quite the handful. Its not pretty in a woman of my age. And yes, then I am the sobbing mess wondering why I cant just die or why someone cant just kill me and put us all out of this misery.
  6. Genny

    Genny Worlds Best Nana

    Stop Walking on Eggshells is an excellent book. difficult child's bio-mom (aka egg-donor) hasn't been diagnosed, but fits every borderline trait to a T. The book helped husband in dealing with her so much, he sent it to her sister - who thanked him profusely. It helps give some insight to their thinking and how to react.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    The holding worked with Nichole. And because of that poem I knew to try. The making her talk about what she was thinking / feeling when she didn't want to also helped. Although it's tough to get her to talk during "the heat of the moment". But it allowed me to show her how her perceptions were off.

    But the trick with the talking is not to let yourself get emotional. Because it's probably not gonna be pretty, and much will be distorted. So an over emotional response can ruin an opportunity. I thought about that poem alot while Nichole and I'd talk. I'd have to remind myself the way I saw things was not the way she saw them.

    This is gonna come off callus, and if it does I wanna point out that I don't mean it that way, but I became rather blah over the cutting after a short while. I used it more as a tool to guage Nichole's stability. And it was a pretty darn good guage. I knew that if she was cutting it was time for me to open my eyes and pay more attention to what was going on with her.

    Janet, you wouldn't believe how utterly helpful that poem was to us. I still have it on my computer, and so does Nichole.

    And Walking on Eggshells is an excellent read. A must for any parent with a child with Borderline (BPD).

  8. grace1

    grace1 New Member

    hang in there! Alanon support
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    A bit of a breakthrough tonight - I noticed this morning that the levels in the gin and vodka bottles were lower (the alcohol is still hidden, not in a locked cabinet because husband refuses to spend the money on either a locking fridge or a deadbolt for our master suite door). This evening, after further depletion of the bottles, I confronted difficult child. He admitted that he had been drinking, both before today and this evening, and became teary.

    I gave him a hug but then redirected him to avoid an emotional meltdown. He said he works hard in other areas in an attempt to compensate, but that the compulsion to drink/use is 'life or death' for him. I told him that treating this compulsion is therefore life or death, no? That it must be the first and biggest priority in his life bar nothing, no? I compared addiction to diabetes or cancer, and told him we'd be urging him just as strongly, in fact considering it non-negotiable, to get treatment in those cases - and it's just as urgent and non-negotiable with this. He accepted this, for the first time. Since for the next two weeks he will only have one group meeting per week in his outpatient treatment program (one group leader is on vacation and his private counseling doesn't start until Aug. 12), I told him he must go to AA meetings, and several times per week for the time being.
    Once I told him that not only would he get education and support, but he'd get a sponsor who has been in his situation, he agreed.

    This is huge for him. So far he has resisted acknowledging that he can't control this.

    I know that talk is cheap, and things may change tomorrow, so I'm not doing back-flips ... but it is a breakthrough. And he must and will go to treatment and AA. husband has come to the place where he said today, it's treatment or the door. Not negotiable. And with this episode husband seems to realize that we can't have alcohol hidden, and we can't have it on the counter while difficult child is around. So finally we're on the same page. Hooray!
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats very good.

    Maybe you can relate it to this. When I stopped smoking back in 1990 I couldnt be around anyone who smoked for quite awhile. I tossed out all ashtrays, matches and lighters. I didnt allow anyone who came to visit to smoke around me. I didnt go anywhere that people smoked. It was simply too much temptation to start back. I couldnt even follow friends out to smoke breaks for several years.

    Unfortunately, I did fall off the wagon and picked up smoking again 6 years later and havent quit yet. Maybe one day I will again. Then again I will toss everything out of my house.

    For now, I would suggest getting rid of all alcohol in your home. If you and your husband want to have a cocktail, go out and get one but dont bring anything home. Enjoy an evening out. Go to a friends. Your son needs a sober house for now.
  11. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I have nothing to add but support.

  12. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thanks. I know we have to get everything out of the house. Wouldn't you know it, husband has invited people over tonight (we hardly ever have guests, but with husband working less starting this month it may happen more) and these people drink wine, lots of it. (I find that timing like this seems to happen often.) I was supposed to go out this morning and buy wine. Now ... what to do. To not offer wine to these friends would be such a departure as to need explanation. Don't know that husband is up to it. He didn't sleep at all last night.

    Maybe I'll ask these friends to hold what wine/alcohol we do have left, not much. That's good advice that someone offered recently. Maybe husband and I should just go to their place tonight, although he worked hard all day yesterday to make our yard look beautiful so he could show it to them (from his upbringing and ethnic group, keeping your house and yard immaculate is a big thing and having people over to see it is also a big thing. It's really important to him to do this.).

    I'm not feeling any joy today. difficult child looked miserable this am before work and so did husband. I'm glad husband has come to face the truth but now he's feeling the upset and depression that I've spread over several years. There's no way around it but I'm so emotionally tired that I don't know how much I have to offer him.