Expanding on Anger/Detachment/LaLaLa...I struggle with DETACHMENT vs OWNERSHIP VENT

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Signorina, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I get it philosophically

    I agree with it for the most part.

    But dangbangit-- I RESENT the whole "work on yourself" -- "you can't change them you have to change yourself"


    And I get it - I do - and I appreciate the whole insight that our upset, our tears, our emotional responses - only serve to drive them further away.
    Please know that I do appreciate the practicality of knowing these things and putting them to use.

    Yet at the same time...I feel like I am wearing kidd gloves around my kid. Don't ask, don't tell, "how nice", and "do not tell him how you really feel" which is where I am 85% of the time. I want to sit that kid on his butt and give him a piece of my mind.

    Mattsmom's post really touched me (bump in the road thread)

    That's where I struggle - I feel so UNAUTHENTIC by being this polite dinner party host with my own flesh and blood. Remember when they were tots and we swore we wouldn't be their friends? We would be their "Parents!" And we did the hard work of following thru on difficult punishments, holding them to higher standards, asking the hard questions, checking up when necessary ... when it should have been so much EASIER to just "go with the flow..."

    Maybe it's because I came to be a difficult child mom late in my difficult child's life at exactly the time I thought my parenting needs would LESSEN, empty nest on the way...

    But I wouldn't let a friend or even a frenemy treat me the way my difficult child does. If he were PC18 or PC15 - I would call them on it immediately. Heck, if he were H - I would kick him to the curb! And I struggle especially because PC15 is watching and I don't want to set this tone for his late teens...

    I know our kids struggle. I know substances are bigger than us. But I want to say that they way they treat us is NO WAY TO TREAT A MOTHER. And I resent the idea that I must be this sort of Teflon Super Mom with no expectations lest I scare him away or make him worse. I get it, I do. And I will go along with it. But you can't make me like it. :p

    And I am not convinced that it will work out for the best in the long run. But no - I don't have any better idea.

    Please know this is more of a vent than anything else. I just feel like he walks all over us sometimes. A little common courtesy would go a long way. And I feel like I am one of those toddler moms: "oh look at him, my precious, budding artist expressing his creativity..." as he colors on my neighbor's walls..

  2. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Just want you to know that you were heard and that I do get it. It is enormously unfair how we have had to bend in order to weather our hurricane difficult children. I, too, came to the role of difficult child mom later ...and rather unexpectedly. It's a shocker, to say the least.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Sig... First... :hugs:

    Second - I am RIGHT THERE WITH YA, SISTER!!!!! I get so flippin' annoyed with "let it go". I want to let it go... OFF!!! Yank the pin, toss the grenade...

    I adore the phrase "Teflon Super Mom". Yes, yes, YES!!!!! Substances or no.
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Vent away, throw a tantrum, at times it helps to get you from the moment to the next. So does glass full of vodka.

    Yeah, they do not fix it, but nothing does.

    It is not fair that your child is a difficult child and that he doesn't bring you mostly joy like other people children or your other children.

    I'm not new to this role. My difficult child started to teach me to be difficult child's mom nineteen years and some months ago. And before that I have already gathered quite a lot of experience of being a child (and a friend) of difficult children. Still I would like to throw a tantrum at times. Because it is not fair that my child gives me so much worry. That he is not a constant source of pride and joy like some kids, that even his triumphs are always bitter sweet and that I can't fix him even though I would know so well, what he should do differently to be fixed.

    And no, when I feel like that, I don't want to hear how I'm lucked out in how well my difficult child in fact is surviving, how much worse things could be and how lucky I am to have easy child to give me those experiences of parenting success.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  5. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I get your vent Sig, I really do.

    Years ago, when my son's first started using...I was SO INCREDIBLY ANGRY! How could they do this to the Perfect Picture Family I worked so DARNED HARD to create??? I was mad as H!!!
    And how could they be so non-chalant about it...Like it was okay. NONE of it was okay. They were disrespectful, out-of-control BRATS!

    Then came Al Anon...Honestly, my anger mostly gone now. It is their lives they have chosen (young difficult child) to misuse. I hurt still for what might have been...what could have been, BUT, I will not die trying to save them anymore. It seemed like...the more of my OWN will I tried to use on them...the stronger it made their SELF will...If that makes sense. So alllll of my controlling, all of my wasted breathe letting them know how I really felt...All of it got is nowhere. Not to say they didn't deserve every bit of what came out of my mouth...LOL and I was gentle!!!

    But I know the hurt, Sig, I really do...I know the disapointment. And I don't think we're just sitting back and taking it. We have to hold onto our own sanity. I sure do as I quite literally lost mine Feb 2007 and had to be hospitalised against my will. That is JUST HOW FAR my anguish, my tears, my pain got me.

    I can't go through that again...so I don't even want to raise my voice now. I don't want anger to consume me. It's not so much that I stopped being a parent...as much as I started respecting my own well-being. Now, I'm still a work in progress as we all are...but I am so SO much better than I was years ago. Boy could I rant then.

    Sig, No one can tell you the perfect answer. Al Anon is a philosophy that involves so many things. When they say "Surrender to win". I used to look at like "What the Heck are they talking about??? These are our children we're talking about...How can I just "surrender"." And now I get it...I think, lol. We have to let go of trying to control their lives so that they will reach out for help on their own volition....not in a power struggle with us.

    Oh Sig, You would have so related to me when the boys first started using. I was so angry and did not want any of this "Let go and let G-d" stuff. I WAS THE PARENT DARNIT!!! and it was MY JOB to straighten them out!!!
    I now have 2 SON's who have gone to prison. WOW...My will, my way, my demands...they really worked out huh?
    Oh, and to boot...I lose my sanity!!!

    Nope, not me, not any more...
    They are grown now. I think we can still say "Hey dude, this isn't gonna cut it living in my house...THERE ARE RULES" but beyond that...as far as controlling there every move, they're grown. It's done.

    OH...I so hope I have not overstepped with anything I have just said. I am not editing this post to you as I really want it to be my raw emotion. Please please let me know if I have said anything that makes sense, lol.

    You're a special lady Sig. You do deserve respect.
    When they can't...we can. We can be kind to ourselves...which of course involves self preserving boundaries.

    Sorry if I just rambled....Your post just touched me.
    Hang in there,
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hear you too. My husband refuses to go to our support group meetings...he echoes what you said, he is not broken he doesn't need fixing.

    There are times I resent having to work on myself because I have a difficult child that won't work on herself.

    I hear you and it feels good to scream sometimes!
  7. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I'm getting carried away now...please forgive.

    It's just I realise how much I took my son's behavior's personally. Like they were doing this to me.
    Interstingly enough...I now believe that my easy child...is a easy child...because I did not do as much for her as I did for her brothers. She had to use her own strength to survive in our family...not mine. As sad as they may be to say. And she is a VERY strong young lady!!! There just wasn't as much of me left to dabble in her business...well, and she wasn't using and doing poorly in school etc. But she watched and learned and came out better on the other side. I think your easy child's will too, Sig.

    LMS...okay I think I'm done, lol.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Sig -

    (((Hugs))) I hear ya!

    FWIW - I think you are right. It IS ridiculous to have to play this stupid game...

    However, I think it's important to remember that you are playing this game for your OWN sanity - not for his. I feel like we all have this fantasy: that somehow, if we could just say the right words, or shake them hard enough, they would come to their senses. Deep down, though - you KNOW you could yell and rant and rave and scream and cry and stomp around and shake them until their teeth rattle and it won't change a darn thing.

    So instead, we practice small talk and try not to ask any of the "important" questions because we know, that even if we did try to have a meaningful conversation - it would only be an opportunity to get drawn into the rabbit hole again. And we don't need that...

    More (((hugs)))
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Years ago husband and I referred to the koi we were going through as "down the rabbit hole" and then I came to the Board and found we weren't the only ones who saw it that way...
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Sig, I totally get what you are saying!! If my difficult child was living at home I am sure I would not be able to detach or keep my cool!! And if he was close by I might not be able to either!! I needed to detach and find ways to move on with my own life for my own sanity. I also feel that I could lose my son altogether and so my goal is to keep the door open in our relationship, and it feels to me as if our relationship is rather precarious at best. So again I keep my cool for my own benefit. And the reality is that at this point my son IS on his own, is not at the moment dependent financially on us and so anything i do or say makes no difference except in his heart.

  11. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Sig, you took the words right out of my mouth. I hate that I HAVE to put up with this gwapo because he is my kid. I do not think that being more involved or less involved makes much of a difference in what our difficult children do. I really believe that most of the time it is a damned if you do..damned if you don't. My brother was a difficult child to the max. My mother and father were the same parents to him as they were to my sister and me.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sig, I know how you feel. But...here comes my realism :) You aren't going to therapy to fix yourself. You are going there to learn to deal with a very difficult adult child, and to learn how to be positive and happy even if he makes bad choices. THAT IS NO EASY TASK! You shouldn't have to know how to do it without help! If he won't fix himself then, dangit, you deserve to learn how to live a good life in spite of his decisions about his own.

    On the "parent not friend" front, we do become more like their friends when they are adults. I have two adult kids (one who acts more like a child). We are more friends now than parent/kid because of their ages and because they are too old for us to tell them what to do. I have learned not to give advice unless asked for it (this is very hard for me, especially with immature son). But he isn't going to listen to me anyway. The few times I've given in and spoken my mind and given my advice, which I feel is sound, he gets very upset. It's not worth it. Now I just figure he will have to figure it out himself. Or not figure it out himself. He doesn't want me to tell him what to do. He just needs me to listen. I can do that.

    ((((Hugs)))). I do know how hard it is just to take a back seat and nod and smile.
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thats a very good point about when our kids are adults we become more like friends.... and I think that can be a hard transition for many parents, going from parent to friend and letting go of trying to parent the kid. Gee my inlaws still havent learned that and it drives me (the outlaw) nuts. My mom and I became very good friends, in fact she was my best friend. I remember clearly when our relationship changed because my parents got divorced when I was 23 and my mom needed me in a new way. We became very close friends and were until she died. I now see myself in that transition with my easy child daughter... I am still her parent because she is not on her own yet, but we are moving toward being more equal... and travelling with her this summer really solidifed that.

    However with a difficult child adult kid I think it is harder. Because they make such bad choices, and with drug use have not grown up and are so immature it is natural for us to think and feel they are sitll kids... and fact is they do still NEED parenting except that they dont too. And I know one of the dances I am doing with my difficult child is him needing to realize that i am really not the authoritarian, puritanical mother he sees me as... he sees me that way because I had to have rules for him as a child and he really hasnt gotten to know me as a person. Some day if he gets himself together i hope we can have a more adult relationship.

  14. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I just hate to have superficial relationships with family members...I am so beyond that. The other thing I hate is that I used to mean the world to difficult child, and now, well, I just don't think I mean that much. It's a sad state of affairs, but I really think if husband called difficult child and said we were no longer able to financially cover his school, and had no means to support him materially, I think we'd never hear from him. Really. After the "superstorm" Sandy hit, he never called to see how any of us were, we had no power for 6 days, no heat, his Grandma is 90 and lives with us, he never even called to find out how she was doing! Acquaintances and neighbors have been more concerned. He was having midterms, but really? You can't call your family for 30 seconds?
  15. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My difficult child is the same, not concerned about anyone but himself - and maybe the difficult child girlfriend - scary but they are so much alike, not good for each other at all.

    He was doing Ok for years (I think but at least he wasn't asking for money) and then the economy went sour and he was laid off 4 times. I was trying to help in emergencies when he really was stranded and without food. Then after the homeless conn he and girlfriend pulled last year for money I really realized just how little he did think of me if at all - just as a person to get money from with the 'borrow' phrase. They were partying and having a great time while I truly thought they were going hungry.

    Mine is threatening suicide now if I don't give him money and he is back with the girlfriend that tried to kill him with a knife. The last text message to me was so very nasty and I chose not to respond. I did let him know I do not agree with him getting back with girlfriend after I had to call the police for harrassment and she was harrassing others as well.

    My only way of contact with difficult child is facebook and I really don't know exactly where he is. girlfriend is very controllling and has fought with his friends and family and he has taken her side. He knows that if he ever visits she is not invited. The police have warned her zero contact in any way. Now he says she was only responding to my harrassment lol!!!

    difficult child is going to college for 4 years and is on the deans list. The fact that he has no job to support himself at 34yo goes totally over his head. I will no longer give money for any thing including fictious or real emergencies so I probably will never hear from him again.

    As the 'wicked and selfish witch' I am starting AlAnon again for myself. In the past I was not able to find one that I really cared for so I am hoping this one will be different. Overall I am much better at detacting (but my difficult child is older than most of yours and I have been at it longer) but my BiPolar (BP) did go very high after the lastest request for money and they nasty spew and suicide threat last week.

    These are his choices and I am making mine. I am truly fortunate that there are no grands involved - that part I try not to think about since she is 38 and he is close to 35 maybe it will not happen, the children would be taken away from them with their life style - I have 2 from my easy child and I love them dearly.

    I do not give up hope - but it is his life and the drama is too stressfull. I wish him well and send love and positive thoughts his way. The rest is up to him. I am as close to acceptance as I have ever been, it feels so much better, but is a hard process.

    I also had a fit by myself years ago when I was told to take a parenting class - HE IS THE ONE OUT OF CONTROL NOT ME lol! I did take the class and the instructor sat there and cried with me. He finally said on the last class, 'you can't save them all and you are trying so hard'. Didn't help my situation!!!
  16. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    May I say (AGAIN) - that I love you guys...

    I am so glad to know I am not alone in my struggle -- yet I am in awe of the grace that my board sisters possess. I strive for that own grace; for the ability to know that his behavior isn't acceptable, yet the grace to accept him.*

    TL - I understand what you are saying about the need for our relationship to transition from an active parenting role to more of a friendship. And your comments really gave me a new perspective And I appreciate it so much. At the same time; that's also part of my struggle. If it were ANYONE but my child; I would not accept this RUDENESS. Sure, I wouldn't sit a friend down and tell them they are an idiot; (which I long to do with difficult child) but I also would not chose to remain friends with someone so clueless and so self centered. But it is what it is and not atypical 20 yo male behavior; and I guess I will draw a line in a sand at some point way in the future if he does not mature out of it.

    *And I know that's part of the serenity prayer and I wish there were a magical Al Anon group somewhere for me. Instead, I have you guys. I tried a in real life support group but I haven't found one that fits. The AL Anon group is full of spouses and with a few (mostly seniors-scary) parents whose adult kids are in the throes of addiction. Plus they have street parking and are in the middle of town and people driving by would know my car and speculate. Which sounds paranoid but it's true. My friends know about difficult child, HIS friends' parents know, but I don't need the (as in, my little) world to wonder why Signorina is going to AA. The more "narcotic" parent oriented group across town is mostly parents of kids who were in recovery at the facility where it's held - and who often still participate in the program in some realm - and have horror stories. I KNOW my kid has a substance problem-because his life is a problem and substance use is a part of it. I can't say he is an addict for sure (though I believe it) and I know many families would think his sowing his oats is just fine. I may need to go back to therapy for a shot in the arm once in a while. (not literally!) I left the last visit feeling so empowered and reassured - yet it was almost a year ago. I think I may get an appointment "on the books"; just in case.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig I had a very hard time finding an al-anon group that I fit in, like you most were of spouses and the meetigns very structured with little or no discussion. The parent group I'm in now is connected with a men's sober house in the area and I am the only parent with a daughter and not connected to that group. However I have become very good friends with some of the members and we have real thought provoking discussions. I have led a couple meetings and have several more in theupcoming months. I feel a real connection with some of them, however it is hard because I am somewhat of an outsider. So this forum is my lifeline and I feel like I know all you personally and if we got in a room together it would be like we were long lost friends.

    I find it very difficult to understand why my difficult child wants to live isolated from her family. Like I've said before I would have loved to grow up in our family and some of difficult child's friends have said how much they love us. But I guess difficult child has made up in her mind that she doesn't need to have a relationship with her and only calls when she needs something. I think some people just don't make the connections with people the way we do and don't have the need for family connections. It use to hurt a lot more than it does now. I think I've finally figured out that o matter who her family was she would be the same.

  18. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    You are not being paranoid at all, in my opinion. I have the same situation, this is a rural area and the 'fruit doesn't fall far from the tree' is even preached in the churches here. The families are highly blamed for not helping the difficult children.

    A prominent family here last month had a 39yo out of control male leading the local and state police on high speed chases resulting in an officer seriously hurt. He had stolen multiple vehicles and wrecked them and then steal another to get him to another state. He was arrested by an FBI (I think SWAT team) in another state. All of the talk around here was, 'why didn't his family help him before it got this out of control?' they just do not understand!!!!

    in my opinion, from gowing up here, the things this difficult child had been involved in had been covered up so much in the past because this was a 'good' family. This 39yo did not just start this out of control behavior all of a sudden! The drug and alcohol use did not just start that weekend!

    We have AA meetings here locally, but zero support groups for the family, and probably never will. I have felt all of my difficult child's life that I could have, should have done more and that is one reason it has taken me so long to Let Go and Let a Higher Power. I have finally come to accept that I did all I could and I can not do any more.

    Hopefully the 'their life - their choices - their responsibility' - will reach this area in the next century lol!!!!
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I too have had difficult time finding a support group. One of the reasons is, that our culture is much less therapy/support group inclined than yours, so there just are less groups. And I'm even living near bigger city so that shouldn't be a problem. There are some al anon groups but only few and they are either for kids of alcoholics (adult or teen) or mainly spouses. I did find two non-12 steps group for parents of problematic kids but I was in totally wrong place there. Others had kids with much more severe issues and lower functioning and I felt really a whiner going there with my problems with in some ways highly functioning kid. To be honest I feel like that also here at times. Especially now that my difficult child is doing fairly well it feels like I'm whining about very minuscule things to people who are in much tougher place.

    Anonymity has also been a big problem for me. My difficult child's problems have a public facet on it so confidentiality is a real issue. We are also part of smallish community and I really don't need everyone knowing our family things so that has made some avenues of support impossible.
  20. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Sig, I have often thougth I would not put up with the stuff I put up with my difficult child in anyone else. If it was my husband we would eventually get divorced, and yeah if he was a friend, the friendship wouldnt last... and any other relative would be one I only saw at family gatherings. It is just plain different when it is your own kid!!

    I was lucky in finding the alanon group I did. It is very structured like Nancy said, but it is all parents and I gain so much insight from the other parents... they totally understand the crazy situations we have been in, and it is a huge help to find other parents who have found ways to move on... that has been an inspiration to me.