Dealing with the anger

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by elizabrary, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Hi Everyone- Once again I seek counsel from you wise people. I am so angry with-my difficult child that it is difficult for me to have a civil conversation with her. For a couple of months she was basically out of contact, which made things easier. But now she is trying to reconnect with me, which I am finding difficult. She has been so horrible in the past and it is not easy for me to just forget all that and be this friendly mother-daughter. I don't want to break off all contact with her because I want to see KK when possible, but this is very hard. I'm so angry I just want to confront her with: "You did this and that and this....blah,blah,blah." Which I know is pointless as I have done that to no avail so many times over the years. I'm not the best at hiding my feelings and currently I'm just trying to get her to the point of why she called and then get of the phone, but I'm sure I sound angry. Any ideas?
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've been known to scream it all out in an empty room while picturing the difficult child in question...........also have written it out, which seems to really get it going. lol Both have helped.

    I still have this issue with katie to some degree myself. But I've learned to kill em with kindness, so I can still smile and be civil even if I want to rip someone's head off. It's a skill I've found to be very helpful with difficult children. I swear there are times I should get an Oscar for my performances.

    After a while you come to realize (or I did at least) that gfgdom just simply wasn't worth putting myself through the emotional wringer. I wasn't doing the behavior, I didn't have to deal with the consequences, was not much reason for me to let myself get all emotional over things I had no control over. And yeah, as you've seen with katie, there are times when I have to remind myself of that.

  3. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I'm not a parent of a difficult child; I'm the uncle of one, but lived in the same house with him for 15 months in '09 and '10, so I have a ton of f2f experience of him. I too have huge residual anger issues with the kid (well, he's 19) and have a handful of observations on the topic:

    1) It's very hard to get past your anger at someone if he/she never apologizes or shows sincere remorse. And I think with most difficult children, we never get *sincere* apologies or remorse. Lots of bogus apologies & pledges to behave better driven by their ulterior needs/wants, but you learn after a while to just ignore most of the apologies and pledges to improve, don't you? If anything, they become additional irritants when you can see right through them.

    2) I was able to finally just wash my hands of the jerk and walk away from him, but I grant that a parent can't do that (for the most part) emotionally or legally. Even so, I was residually very angry for about half a year after I left. (I had been attacked, cursed harshly at, denounced in the most personal and violent terms, etc etc--you all know the drill with angry difficult children--over and over and over again, so I had ton of pent-up anger to deal with.) It takes a long time to get over having been mistreated like that for so lengthy a period of time, even if the difficult child is your child or family member. The mind stores up the sense of grievance and it just simmers in there, awaiting an opportunity for expression.

    3) Never feel guilty about the anger, even the fury. Think about it: if anyone outside your family treated you the way your difficult child has, you would've had the person arrested, prosecuted, and jailed long ago, and with great relish and satisfaction. It is simply emotionally confounding when it's your own child that's doing these vile things to you. We are not "wired" for this sort of massive, counter-intuitive cognitive dissonance.

    4) Lastly, if I were you, I'd go ahead and vent it all at her, at gale force. She's a legal adult now and she not only can take it, but richly deserves it. And you need to express it. Fire away and let it all out.
  4. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I guess it's kind of dumb of me, but I'm thinking- seriously you want to just call up and come see me and be all happy after all the sh*t you've done. But knowing what oblivious morons these kids can be I don't know why it even surprises me.
  5. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    Sadly, that appears to be one of the signal features of GFGdom: a seeming incapacity for shame. To them, it's like all of that stuff never even happened. Which makes it all even more infuriating.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I have done that to Nichole many many times over the years. Oh, I haven't shouted it at her......cuz I usually don't say it until she's calmed down doing that Everything Should Just Be Fine Cuz I'm Not (mad, sad, off the deep end whatever). I'd point out to her repeatedly that just because she was over it, doesn't mean those she unleashed on or whatever were over it. Not everyone can turn it on and off like she can/could. A couple of years of that and it started sinking in. I think it sunk in better because I was usually calm when I said it to her. At first I really don't think it dawned on her that other people might be affected by her words/actions long term. She seemed baffled by it. Enough explaining.......and making sure family were telling her the same thing (cuz they felt the same way) to reinforce it......and she finally got it.

    I'm still not sure if it was a hang over from teendom "it's all about me" syndrome or what.
  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I've done the screaming in the empty room and written letters that I never sent. As mrssam pointed out, they seem not to be able to exhibit or possibly feel shame or remorse. On my better days, I accept that my difficult child is wired the way she is wired and remind myself to simply love what is. I recommend reading The Power of Now. It does not at all address difficult children or any7thing like that, but it is a great tool in helpiong quiet your own mind and in finidng peace within..

  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I understand your anger. I guess I wonder is she truly trying to reconnect or is there something she wants from you? If she truly wants to reconnect then I would ask her if she is ready and willing to hear your feelings and anger? If she is then I would write it down and give it to her. It might take several drafts because what you give to her should express your feelings but also be done in a way that it is not just you in a rage (if it was me that would be my first draft).

    I am also very angry at my difficult child but what I would like more than anything is him truly wanting to reconnect but that is not going to happen any time soon.

    I also really sympathize with all of you with grandkids from your difficult children..... that is my latest worry. Now that he is living with his girlfriend I can't help but wonder if she will end up pregnant. Hopefully she is using birth control!!!
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I thought about your situation and your want before I posted because I know how I used to react, and I know how I'd like to think I'd react now, and I know how sometimes I DO react then beat myself up somewhat after the fact ending up with more guilt over MY behavior (or rather lack of) than my original intent of 'setting someone straight'. Oddly enough I've sat and listened to so many people over the years tell others how they would handle this exact same situation, and you may be surprised at a list of replies. Each ones advice retrospectively is unique.

    Pondering why I could only come up with each of our lives and sets of circumstances, and history is just as unique. See I know how many times I allowed myself to be used as a doormat with people, not just my son before I stood back and was absolutely miserable, and so depressed I didn't even realize that it was not OTHERS that was making me angry, but MYSELF and my lack of ability to draw boundaries, detach, and not make compromises within myself that was the reason I really wanted to rage or lash out at someone.

    I think in the instance of your daughter, you stated it very well 'When she was out of contact, things in my life were easier." You didn't say when she was gone, my life was wonderful, or easy or fantastic - you realized with her 'behaviors' not in your face things were't so chaotic for YOU. In my opinion you didn't HAVE to draw a boundary for yourself - she left - and the boundary was created, and basically the problems left. It was easy. Now she's coming back, and that means the problems are coming back and you're figuring out that means you once again will be FORCED to draw boundaries, and maybe you aren't good at that, or maybe you have no CLUE how to do that, because before - it was just done - she left. Now you have the problems again, and THAT is FRUSTRATING. It also brings up ALL those emotions once again that if she had JUST stayed gone? You wouldn't HAVE to deal with - her problems left with her and that was okay. Now she's coming back and surely she will bring them with her and that creates problems FOR YOU.

    It doesn't have to, yelling at her? Probably not going to do anything but make YOU feel terrible - really. If yelling at her was going to make her DO anything I think maybe it would have before, but then again - maybe you're the kind of family that functions on --"I am ANGRY with you. Oh yeah well here's how I feel I am ANGRY WITH YOU! OH yeah? YEAH!" well good, now that that is out of the way - lets forgive and move on. I don't know. Sometimes I think that's needed. Sometimes I think it's not. Depends on the family, the problem. But mostly right now? I think you are struggling with YOUR boundaries and abilities to make them. I'd concentrate on THAT and be STRONG in those first, and then worry about what you say when the moment gets here. Then? If you blast her? Okay - If not? Okay.

  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Star- I think you are right. It is very difficult drawing boundaries with her- she fights it every time. Let's face it- for years there were no boundaries, so now that I have some and actually enforce them- she hates it. So I'm dreading having to deal with that right up in my face again. And I have gotten better at enforcing those boundaries without anger- just this is the way it is very matter-of-factly, but it is draining. Dealing with her takes so much energy. It's like dealing with a toddler- I have to reinforce again and again because she is always testing me to see what she can get away with. Ugh- that's why it's easier when she is gone. Sad, but true.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    It wasn't very hard to come to this thought E, because I only had to think of my own situation with Dude. Right now? I have more peace. Not total peace, but more peace because he is a few hundred miles away. It isn't like it was when he was living here, or down the road at a moments notice would drop in no matter what boundaries we set.

    Normally DF being disabled is here all the time, but say we wanted to go see a movie at the dollar theater? It took effort, planning, thinking. By the time we did what we needed to do to secrure the house, our property, our garage, our dogs? It sucked almost all the fun out of it. Then we'd go, and think did we do this? Did you catch that? Did you put the XYZ in the safe, how about the LMNOP? It was frustrating to think that it's bad enough thieves would try to invade your space, but your own kid could get past the dogs. So not even the trip TO the theater was enjoyable it was all again - about Dude. Then the movie was spent 1/2 wondering if you were being ripped off, and the drive home was worrying about what we'd find, and then the release (so to speak) of "oh good" he hasn't been here. Then the exhale of "Why do we have to have this at all?" Maddening really. We have a dog door - and most of the time? That's how he was getting in. After that show where the thief said only dog collar activated dog doors should be used? I thought - how clever - then realized if it's your KID getting into yourhouse and the dogs know him? It's not going to work anyway and just felt defeated. So now what do I do? get a dog that will eat my kid? I mean come on!

    As far as the boundaries? I'm feeling better about it too, but again, he's not here. True, I'm a lot tougher when he's not around. We all are. I really have been working on saying no, and improving. I'm not perfect, and I've helped a little recently - but I've also seen improvements to make me want to help a little too. I can tell you this much? He's said in the past that he was going to move back. DF was in a panic. I can't explain it better. It wasn't upset, angry or anything else it was panic.

    Perhaps it would be good to write out all the things you won't budge on and make your own rules? Or maybe this is an excellent time to tell your therapist you need extra help. I don't know exactly what to tell you in this situation because like I said all of the history here is so unique, and there is a Grandbaby involved. I do know no matter - that wouldn't be a bargaining chip not now not ever. I'd have to dig deep and find a way to make that clear from this day forward and live with my decision - I think if you don't stand by that one? She's going to be a pawn in a very ill played game of life-chess.

    Wish I had better advice - but other than my typical bat to a tree and pound the grass for frustration advice? In this case? I'm all for seeing a therapist, and talking my dog for a walk. - You know the kid with the nice teeth!

  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I think about boundaries a lot because of the work I do. One thing that is clear to me is that both addicts and people who are abusive, overstep boundaries or invade your boundaries. Since some of our difficult child's have qualities of both it is no wonder as their parents we struggle keeping boundaries with them. Like I said I think about boundaries a lot for other people, but it is hard sometimes to be clear about boundaries with my own son. He has always always always pushed limits of any kind... and that is a boundary issue. He always pushes them to the max and our mistake some of the time is not to hold firmly to them and not being clear about them. And he is currently mad at me because I overstepped his boundaries by trying to get in touch with his girlfriend....i see that. Interesting.
  13. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I do not think the anger ever really totally goes away unless a difficult child makes a complete turn about. It does however become blunted with time and alot of it is converted to sadness. I'm not sure which is easier to deal with the anger or the sadness but I do know that for myself, I can accept the sadness and have a happy life in spite of it. The anger just ate me up. I am still angry with my difficult child for so many reasons but I manage to channel it into positive acts. If I let it consume me in the negative way I would loose myself. My acceptance that things are what they are and are most likely not going to change actually helps me maintain my boundries.

    I have walked through fire and will continue to do so from time to time for as long as my difficult child is in my life. But I have come to the realization that now that he is an adult he cannot change my ability to direct my own life unless I let him. I do calmly tell him when he does something that hurts me or angers me. I leave the ranting and raging out. It serves no purpose other than to get my blood boiling and who needs that? But I feel that as his parent, who has sacrificed so much for him over the years, I have a right to voice my discontent when his actions affect me. I try to ACT not react. It gets easier with time.

    That said my difficult child has informed me that his girlfriend is pregnant so I do know what my next challenge will be. I also know that I do not want to raise this child. At this point I am not sure how much involvement I will have or how much I will want. I have 8 months or so to think about that. But I do know that I will not allow the child to be a pawn in difficult child's attempts to manipulate me. I also have already accepted that the child may be taken by DSS and never be a part of my life. I'm OK with that and it is how difficult child came to me in the first place. I will pray that if the child does end up in the system that he gets into a home where they are committed to giving him what he needs for his entire childhood as we did for difficult child. Unfortunately my easy child daughter has not been able to make that commitment to herself and I do worry for her. I fear that she will try to adopt the child as we did her brother. this child will most likely turn out as my difficult child did inspite of all efforts. It is genetic in this case (a chromozome malformation that causes a malformation in the brain and is a dominant trait in most all offspring). difficult child followed his boyfriend's footprints in spite of a wholesome upbringing and most likly this next generation will do the same. Knowing how hard my life has been since difficult child entered it, I do not wish the same on my daughter. -RM
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I do calmly tell him when he does something that hurts me or angers me. I leave the ranting and raging out. It serves no purpose other than to get my blood boiling and who needs that? But I feel that as his parent, who has sacrificed so much for him over the years, I have a right to voice my discontent when his actions affect me. I try to ACT not react. It gets easier with time. -RM

    Excellently spoken!
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I agree. We have all lost too much time already to anger or pain or confusion or even, hope.

  16. AHF

    AHF Member

    I'm reading these posts with interest because I've recently been dealing with Robin Hood (difficult child #1), who manipulated me into co-signing a lease for him on the promise of repaying a large sum of money ... which he later wrote to say he did not intend to pay because he had decided that he needed the $ more than I did. He has been trying to make amends--because he wants something, of course--and when I point out that he lied and conned me, his response is, "That was just money. I've gotten over it. Why can't you?" I don't know whether to laugh or tear his throat out. It's like the bully who beats the kid up and then says, "that was just a bruise; I've gotten over it." We pick our battles, and I think they become the repositories for our anger & sadness. In this case, I'm holding firm: no friendly mom-contact until he makes good on the debt. ("It wasn't money, honey. It was a promise and a lie.") I find, sometimes, that holding forgiveness in reserve until true remorse comes on the scene can not only be empowering; it can actually make me LESS angry in the long run, because I'm not so angry with MYSELF.
  17. KFld

    KFld New Member

    This made me laugh, though it is far from funny! When I met my boyfriend 3 years ago, difficult child was in recovery and though I would tell boyfriend all about difficult child when he was actively using and not making the best choices he would say to me, he's a great kid, how bad could he have been?? Over the last few months since difficult child relapsed and boyfriend experienced this for the first time, he kept saying to me, omg, he is exhausting!!

    It's so true though, no matter how you try to explain it to people, until you experience it you have no idea how exhausting and life consuming it is.
  18. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Karen- I know people are always saying, "But she's an adult, how can it affect you." They have no clue how it can become all-consuming and exhausting. I would love for them to have 1 week dealing with Kat. Probably within 24 hours they would run screaming from her chaos!
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    If I live to be 100 - I will NEVER forget our psychiatrist telling the state people ---(in OUR defense to get difficult child out of home services)

    "Well yes, I see your point, out of home services ARE very costly, but these parents HAVE jumped through every hoop, gone to every meeting, come to every session and exhausted every single avenue and then some..uh huh.....(long pause) uh huh (nodding on phone) uh huh....I see...(nodding again) well I will say this then and then perhaps you can make your own professional judgements. I have been a counselor, therapist for over thirty years. You may not know this, but I counsel the prisioners within our prison systems here a few times a month, and I've been doing that also for years. I see the worst of the worst - serial killers, mass murders people of that nature. Certainly a ten year old child can't be classified in that category, but I'll say this I would not spend ONE NIGHT in the XX house with their child. He's dangerous, unstable, unpredictable, and I'm not sure how anyone in that household sleeps, his parents show absolute signs of extreme exhaustion. They need a break. They have a right to be safe. If I were them? I'd be sleeping with one eye open all the time, and he's ten -without this intervention we can only imagine what he will be like at eleven.

    In essence? He did put it in writing and THAT is how we were able to get assistance for out of home placement. So at least one person in our lives understood. Him and you here. But the rest of the world? Either we got "You should do this and that - that will show him." Or we weren't parenting right, or tough enough, or "IF he were MY kid." and finally with one girl friend who KNOWS IT ALL? I let her - I handed her carte blanche because she had three darlings - and within ONE day - she handed me back the reins and said - "It's not you, it's him." (YA THINK?) So yup - There has to be a word past exhausted - Oh there is - Conduct parent. lol. And proud of it!

    Hang in there!
  20. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I think it is very useful if there's at least 1 person in difficult child's life--someone whose response to him can't be simply ignored or trivialized, like a family member or close friend--who turns completely away from him in disgust and extinguishes the relationship. Here's why: difficult children get *very* accustomed to family members (especially parents) being unable to turn away from them, always forgiving them (or inclined to forgive), enabling them, etc. They exploit this as a perceived weakness. But if one of them--obviously, it can't be a parent, because a parent can only very rarely do it--finally announces "OK, I've had enough of this--this is intolerable" and extinguishes the relationship with the difficult child, that can be a real jolt.

    I did this with my difficult child nephew. At his mother's appeal to me, I moved in and lived with her family (her and two sons, a younger easy child and older difficult child) for 15 months. My role was to protect her and easy child and their property from thieving, lying, drug-taking and -selling, marauding, hell-raising 17-18 year old difficult child. Along with playing "bouncer" and returning safety and sanity to their household, I teamed up with his mother to try to nudge him toward improvement, self-awareness, etc (he had weekly counseling with therapist too, when he deigned to go to it). As is usually the case with difficult children, the latter didn't work: I was able to stop the household thievery, bullying, extortion, menacing, etc via many, many violent encounters with difficult child, but he wouldn't change. I finally left in disgust 15 months later (disgust at his mother for never-ending enablement, refusal to throw him out of the house for the sake of the easy child, etc), but I made it very very clear to difficult child that I thought him the worst form of lowlife, a vile *******, and that I wanted never to see him again--in short, that I hated his guts and was utterly quit of him. He put up a tough front but he was clearly very shaken: an uncle who knew him very well, who had come in love and hope and support, now washing his hands of him forever in loathing and fury and contempt.

    Parents can't pull this off. Siblings can't either, although I think they often covertly, tacitly hate the difficult child, quite justifiably. But I think it's a *good* thing when it can happen: it teaches the difficult child that he will NOT always be forgiven and given yet another chance, that it's possible that their hideous behavior can actually extinguish what had formerly been love--i.e., that they are snuffing out vital connections via their misconduct. That they can and will be hated due to their behavior, and that important people in their lives can and will turn away from them and never look back. They need to learn this.