Gone Boy

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Albatross, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    So he's gone again.

    He got pulled over while smoking some pot and had a mandatory court appearance scheduled. He stopped by the house to pick up the notice of arraignment and was once again teary eyed and so scared and so very, very sorry for it all...

    husband had arranged for a lawyer friend to represent him, and friend got him a reasonable deal -- a few weekly drug tests and a small fine he could easily afford. Difficult Child agreed to the deal.

    That's the last anyone has seen or heard of him. His phone has been disconnected for awhile,but he hasn't been on FB since the day of the hearing.

    He told his attorney he was going hiking in GA. He told husband he was going to CO. He told me he was going to LA.

    So he probably intended to skip out all along.

    I accept that this is what it is, that this is WHO he is, at least right now.

    And I honestly don't even WANT to talk to him. He only shows up when he wants something and we just end up feeling worse.

    But really? Just disappear without a word?

    husband says his gut feeling is we won't EVER hear from him again. Period.

    I said, "You think that's IT? Just..gone? For good? Just like that?"

    "Yep, just gone, just like that. That's what I think."

    I was reading HLM's post about birthdays and memories and thinking back on all the good times we had as a family, all the times we supported his interests, all the times we believed him and backed him up when no one else would...and he just takes off without any consideration?

    It's just so hard to fathom sometimes.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is, but he doesn't think like a normal person. If he is a drug addict, the drugs are fueling his behavior. Or he has a personality disorder, which is odd thinking too, and he could have both.

    Trying to figure our adult kids out in normal terms does not work. For me, it just works out best to accept what is, not look at the past or future, accept the present and not try to figure it out because we can't. If they thought like a "normal" person thinks, we could sort of get some idea of the "why," but if they were anywhere near a "normal" or "typical" thinker, they would not do the things they do.

    One trait that seems pervasive is that they do not think about others. They don't muse over what we have done for them or that we love them. And I think "Love" is different for them. It is more of an opportunistic feeling. "What has she done for me lately? I'll love her if she gives me what I want." I believe many of those who brought us to this forum consider us more like objects...I call us their ATMs. This lack of empathy tends to be their biggest downfall, but we can't change that.

    Hugs for your hurting heart. Try to be nice to yourself today and remember how futile it is to ruminate over the future. He will likely come back when he needs an ATM.
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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  3. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Albatross, I am so very sorry. I hope looking at his behavior, like MWM talks about, helps you a little. Little by little I stopped taking my son's words and actions personally. They were/are very hurtful and often seemed designed to pierce his father and my hearts.

    Realizing it was addiction or personality disorder or whatever, and that we were objects more than anything, helped us grow some protective armor.

    YOU, do something fun today, and take care of yourself. We cannot know what the future holds. So, try to keep good, healthy thoughts in your head today. And, i hope you report back that you took a ride or something special.

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  4. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Dont even try. When I first started working in Corrections I spent a HUGE amount of time trying to figure out why. Why do something that costs your freedom, why do something while incarcerated that could cost you your limited fun or increase your sentence? I had to give up trying because it was making me insane.

    Our difficult children are very similar to convicted felons. As a matter of fact, a high percentage of convicted felons are more than likely what we would consider difficult children. The fact of the matter is, the only way to understand them is to be them. I can't begin to comprehend why someone would sell drugs instead of get a job and even if I were to end up in prison, it would probably be for defending my family a little too vigorously or something like that. I still wouldnt get it because it would be an isolated incident due to circumstances, not a consequences be damned spur of the moment decision which is so often how our children decide things. I would have thought out the risk, weighed it against the reward, and made my decision based on that information.

    The point is, you're spitting in the wind trying to find logic in the illogical, impose logical thinking on a completely illogical set of circumstances. You will only cause yourself stress by doing it. Practice detachment and protect yourself.
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  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It cannot seem like it now Albatross, but it could be that this is the best thing. It isn't the thing you wanted to happen. Not for him, and not for you. But like my kids do too, this child of yours has been choosing the exact opposite of what would be best for him for some time, now. You and D H have done every smallest thing you know to do for your son. There is comfort in that knowledge, and there is integrity, in the real world, in the actions you have taken.

    That will have to be enough for now.

    We don't get to have a say in what the kids will do.

    If it comforts you, I believe your child will be back. I believe he needs to do this for his sense of integrity.

    I believe the tears and the regret are real.

    I believe he loves you, and that you brought him up well. His leaving home at all, but especially in this way, is not what you wanted.

    It is what he wanted.

    Your task now has to be to accept that it is what it is. I am so sorry for the hurt and the rage and the downright stupid of what is happening now, Albatross.

    He is gone.

    You cannot protect him, now. He will learn hard lessons and that is what he needs.

    You are left to interpret, to assign meaning.

    Here are some pretty (and some not so pretty) things for you, Albatross. It helps me to name and so, externalize the mishmash of feelings. That way, I can have a look at them.

    But there are times, and you know this too, when even that doesn't help much.

    Nonetheless, here they are. I am happy to share them, and I hope you find them helpful.


    Each of the following quotes is from "The Politics of Women's Spirituality" Edited : Charlene Spretnack

    "Seboulissa, mother goddess with one breast
    eaten away by worms of sorrow and loss
    See me, now.
    Your severed daughter, laughing our name into echo
    all the world shall remember."

    ~ Monique Wittig


    "I have been woman
    for a long time.
    Beware my smile
    I am treacherous with old magic
    and the noon's new fury."

    I think that was Monique, too. I don't have that book here, but I think this is correct.


    "Perhaps, Grandmother...
    the phoenix cries, as it burns.

    Charles Williams
    Descent Into Hell

    This is my favorite book, and my favorite author. He was a compatriot of Tolkien and Lewis.


    "We live happily indeed among men who hate us, free of hatred; among men who are greedy, free of greed. Though we call nothing our own, we shall be like the bright gods, feeding on happiness."

    I didn't note the author on this one. I had no idea, when I put some of these things in my quote box, that I would be sharing them with anyone.

    This helped me so much when things were at their worst, and I could not find a way to stand up, to keep on doing what I had once found so important. In a way, this quote was, for me, like that light in the forest I posted about.

    Oh, wait. I added all this stuff later. The light in the forest part comes later.


    "And right now
    I feel like I have fifty
    broken bones
    and when I'm still it hurts,
    and when I move, it hurts even more,
    no matter what part of me I move,
    all those broken bones grinding
    Worst of all
    anyone who tries to comfort me
    moves those bones
    hurts me more.

    Jane Howard Samuels


    "The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being."

    T Robbins

    Ascension Factor
    Frank Herbert


    "We begin to look at things and people with more care, hearing words and music not heard, before...and a realization dawns that a personal daystar has begun to shine, giving us its light."

    Maria Harris
    The Dance of Women's Spirituality

    This is a beautiful, and beautifully written, book.


    When I was worried about my son, I found a talisman. I don't remember what it was, now. Something that meant him to me. I wrapped it in fabric and then, in fabric of a different color. Maybe there were more layers, I don't remember. Then, I put it in a box and put the beautiful box in a drawer in my dresser. When I was especially scared or worried, or on holidays when I would be so torn up over that missing face at our table, I would take the talisman out and unwrap all the layers and think of my son. Sometimes, I would cry. Sometimes, I would be so angry. Sometimes, I was numb. Eventually, I would rewrap the talisman, oh, so carefully and sincerely. I would put it back in the box, and put the box away in its safe place.

    That night, I would light the white candles I am always posting about.

    Those rituals probably did nothing at all for our son, but they brought me through the worst times. Knowing I had access to that comfort made me strong enough.

    Sometimes, all I knew to ask for was to be strong enough.

    I have posted before about the white candles, and the way I thought about them as somehow lighting the way home, for my son.

    When I would wake up, or if my mind started to circle and worry and make terrible pictures, I learned to say the Serenity Prayer until the next time I woke up, worried.

    I would do that, never really knowing I had slept until I awakened, worrying again.

    God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
    The Courage to change the things I can.
    And the Wisdom to know the difference.


    If you do any of these things Albatross, know I have been there before you, and that it helped me, to do these things.

    Know that I wish for your strength, and for peace and healing for you.

    A therapist told me one time that it was like I was lost in a dark forest with no signposts. No moon. No stars, even. And there, far in the distance, is...a light.

    The therapist told me that was him, holding a light for me at that place where the forest ended.

    I would have to journey alone, but I would make it.

    At some point on your journey too Albatross, you will see, far in the distance, a light. That is all of us, every one of us, here on this site where we share the things we cannot tell, and strengthen ourselves and one another. We are making quite alot of noise, laughing and cherishing and celebrating our safe arrival and anticipating the time when you will be through the worst of it, too.

    Oh, wait.

    Looks like someone called the cops.

    Something about everyone roaring around, drinking champagne toasts and throwing up their pirate skirts and Echo ~ well, you know how our Echo feels about underwear.



    D H and I talk about the wonderful memories we have about our kids, and about the hopes we had, and cherished, and believed were true things. We do talk about that, so much. It has helped us to get ourselves back on track to remember how much fun it was, back when we didn't know what was coming.

    We are so glad we had that, and so grateful that we had no clue about how it would all change, and about how sad it was going to be.

    No one can change or dirty or tarnish that.


    Another strengthening thing has been to remember that couples who have never had children are out here, celebrating their lives full throttle.

    Pirate skirt.

    A pirate skirt can sometimes just remind us that we were happy before we fell in love with our children. We were separate beings, once.

    That is still true.

    They might never have come into our lives, at all.

    Our lives are our own.

    It helps me to think like that, sometimes.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    Well spoken.

    I am going to put that on the fridge.

  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I believe this is true too, MWM. It is as if the empathy part of their brain never got connected properly. And I agree, it is their biggest downfall. And it is just a very sad thing...

    I think it must be such a lonely time of it, to feel nothing except the thrill of the game, to never be able to see others except in terms of what they can do for you.

    And the only way we can survive it is to grow a protective outer shell, to protect the raw spots, the parts of us that feel, the parts that they sometimes don't even seem to have. It's all just very sad.

    SS, I had to work today, but tonight I am appreciating my friends in this forum and having a couple of cold brewskis that are really hitting the spot...so I am definitely counting that as something fun.

    Yes, I know you are right, Jabber.

    And I think a lot of the time even if I WERE him I wouldn't understand his decisions. I have listened to him try to explain his logic sometimes, and it is more tortured than Tiny Tim at a Pavarotti concert.

    Cedar, this is very comforting. I never thought of that before. I have thought many times of how it would have been if I'd known how very, very long this would all drag out when the trouble first started.

    But I never thought of what a blessing it is, to have had those happy experiences untarnished by what was down the road, and to know that we have cherished him, cherished our family.

    Thank you for sharing your most treasured quotes with me. I love reading your words and the words of others who mean a lot to you.


    Thank you so much, ladies and gent.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Albatross, I haven't posted because I just haven't been able to think of anything to say...but I am reading along and praying for you and your family.
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am glad you had work to go to.

    There have been times when creating and incorporating those other facets of self ~ the professional self, or the volunteer self, or the martial arts self or the yoga self or the ballet self or the student self (I completed the requirements for my degree at one point through all these years, cum laude) ~ is what enabled me to come back into balance around my grieving, destroyed and depressed core self.

    There are just too many days, over the long time when our kids are messing up and every day is something worse, for us to incorporate all that loss and sadness.

    Since the kids aren't going to change? We have to make our lives bigger.

    Works for me.

    Healing from what happened with difficult child daughter found me committing to Hospice refresher classes, forcing myself to confront my fear of driving over bridges, volunteering at an art gallery (where I now work), and committing to yoga (which I am well accomplished at, now) and Tai Chi (which I am accomplished enough at by now that I am helping teach it).

    In perhaps two years more, I will feel I know it well enough to teach it on my own.

    When it was difficult child son I was grieving? I took the first belt in karate. If we had not begun moving back and forth between north and south with the changing seasons, I would hold a black belt in that style, now.

    One year, and I don't remember which child it was in trouble then, we re-landscaped the yard. D H would go to this place where he would get huge rocks ~ heavy rocks, rocks that would test strength and patience and commitment. And he would load the truck and bring them home and get them all down the hill. I would take it from there. We worked like fools for those years ~ but the rocks look like a river bed, and the yard is filled with cedars and everything there is beautiful.

    So, whatever it was that time, that is how we got through that.

    I would work in the yard from morning until it got dark. There are beautiful flowers everywhere, now.

    Lots of drain tile.

    It was hard, dirty work ~ hard enough to oxygenate that dark center where grief and pain and confusion lived, trying to strangle the life out of us.

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Albatross, I am reading along as well, sending you hugs and holding warm thoughts for you and your son.....
  11. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Albatross -- I'm so sorry to hear of his disappearance. Has he disappeared for great lengths of time before? I ask because ours has and he has always reappeared (4-6 months down the line, usually). However, it does occur to me he might disappear for good some day.

    Man, I hear your heart in your words. That's the dichotomy of this crazy parenting experience. I used to think, "Who is our son? Is he THIS person or THAT person?" I have concluded he's both. Perhaps your son is like TWO (or more) different people at times, also? My job with our son is to determined which person he is on which day. One person I can be around. The other I cannot be around. Boundaries matter greatly there for me.

    Jabber -- Boy, you sure nailed that one right on the head! I spent tons of time trying to figure out the WHY. Eventually, I concluded that although there may be diagnoses involved and they may play a role..........still, sometimes, there is no WHY. My life got a whole lot easier when I quit trying to figure out the WHY. Took me 10-15 years to figure that out! What a struggle that time was for me!

    Albatross -- I always enjoy your insights, your heart and your humor (you have one terrific sense of humor, you know that?)! I hope, also, that you've found other ways to fill your cup since yesterday. I know it's all still so fresh and raw. My heart is with you. If we were in the same room chatting, I'd give you a hug right now. I really enjoy connecting with you here on this site.

    Take care. I have no words of wisdom, but I do have words of support!
  12. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Albatross, I'm adding my voice of support and concern. I haven't had to cross that bridge with my sons yet, but I can only imagine how difficult it is for you.
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh Alb. Ugh. I cannot fathom these types of things. I will never get it. I think that's the point.

    We are operating on one level and they operate on another. Never the twain shall meet. If we're lucky, there are intersections, from time to time, but like HLM's post, they are fleeting.

    Or they don't seem to. Maybe their own survival is so tenuous and they are so afraid and that takes up everything they have, that there is no room for thinking about others. I don't know. I know my difficult child loves me and has loved me throughout his stuff. I see it and feel it. But it didn't change his behavior. The disease is stronger than love. Our love to fix it or their love to show us they care.

    I so agree with this. In fact, I think if we can stop doing this, it is great for us and for them. I have understood that addicts have a tremendous amount of guilt for all they have done/not done. Our heaping more on them doesn't help anything. And it helps me to realize this is not about me. Never was. Never will be.

    I do too, Cedar. I think in trying to make sense of it all (we never will) we "other" them so we can say, well, they just don't feel like we do. I believe many of our difficult children do feel like we do, but the disease is just too powerful. It helps us to other them, but I'm not sure we are right about that.

    I love Cedar's white candle. I went and bought a white candle for difficult child and put it in a yellow holder. It was so positive and cheerful. For a long time I had it on the kitchen table, when he was homeless and I didn't know anything or much about him day to day. That candle helped me. It was a positive thing for me.

    Alb, maybe you could have a white candle there, for him and for you.

    yes, detachment with love. That's the ticket. Continuing that work on yourself, Alb. You have been socked in the gut again, but there is no way to know the future or to protect yourself from it.

    We can only hope and believe he will come back and at some point, somehow, someday, he will want consistent help and he will start his life over again. That is what I hope for you and for him.

    I hope today is a better day, Alb.
  14. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I am so sorry to read your post...I know, many of us know, that dull feeling of hurt and surprise and disbelief. Overalid on fear and sadness and loss. We know.

    I do some of Cedar's things sometimes...they help me. And this idea helps me too..that out there there are other parents who love their kids lighting candles, and wrapping icons (and pricking voodoo dollls...oops did I say that out loud?) We aren't alone.

    I know, honey, I know. Fathom is such a good word for it too...fathoms and fathoms under the sea, too deep to plumb or even comprehend.

    You know, I have felt that way. I hope to not feel that way again...I think, maybe, I won't...Alb, I hope you will come to a day when you can hope not to feel this way again too. Cedar, thank you for the imagery.

    Hahaha, some one called the cops. Not me!!!! I called the band!!!

    Cedar, I think this story was both about exhausting yourself with rocks and also about throwing heavy things and also about making something beautiful and lasting...I love the layeredness of it. It also brought to mind a day when, in the throes of divorce from difficult child's dad, in a period of free fall with difficult child, in the days after my mother died...I came upon the idea of smashing all the glass in my recycling. So I took it outside and threw all the bottles against the garage for...ohh..a long time. ONe of the neighbors got worried and called me "I just want you to know I hear the sound of breaking glass, I figured your kids were up to something." to which I replied "thank you, I will take care of it."

    My daughter is STILL mad that I implied by my non-volunteering info that she might have been acting up. She was also irate because, you know, the dogs or even people might get hurt on the glass (I cleaned it all up). This from a girl who had some Definite Difficult Child Years (as in, many)

    I don't know why...but that memory made me laugh.

    and laughing, in the face of all this, can only be a good thing.

    Holding you in my heart right now, Albie, and all of you warrior parents out there.

  16. Carri

    Carri Active Member

  17. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Cedar, I like to be productive too. Stay busy and make things beautiful. Very therapeutic. Beats staying idol and getting crazy in my own head.
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is what the site we have all created does for each of us: It teaches us it is possible to survive this, and to love our difficult child kids with clarity and intent and purpose.

    I am grateful for that. I love reading everyone's comments, and I take away how to keep going through it ~ how to hold faith with myself that I will not be cold or mean or closed down or self-righteously angry at the end of it.

    Just lately, as I have been letting go of guilt and responsibility for what is happening, I am finding a sense of ~ I don't know how to describe it. Worminess at the core of it all is part of it. But the thing that concerns me is that I feel maybe a twinge of disgust at it, now.

    Not that I will heal it or hold myself and all of us in compassion or any of the acceptable emotions I might usually feel...just that sharp twinge of disgust.

    Like a toothache twinge.

    It's pretty scary.

    That is not how I want to come through this.

    I read the posts here about lack of empathy with my heart in my mouth.

    And that little "ping", that little twinge of disgust.

    This is something new, someone I don't want to be.

  19. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    It will never be you that has that lack of empathy. If anything it has been years of you having too much empathy for you Difficult Child that holds none for you because they are incapable of having any. You don't go from being an empathetic person to not being one. You go from being empathic with good reason, while you stop being empathetic to people who lie, cheat and steal from you or use your empathy against you. It becomes a balancing act where you stop ALWAYS being the "good" person, with those who will trash and tarnish those feelings, to moving on with your own life and sharing those empathetic feelings with people who are deserving of them. Yes, you will have to build a shield around your heart, as you become aware that those you have loved and entrusted with your heart are perfectly capable of stomping all over it to get their own needs met. Better to save empathy for those who deserve it and appreciate it than to waste it on people who will only use and abuse you in the end.

    Sounds as if you are feeling a little guilty for coming to a place where you realize both what you are dealing with and the likelihood that the situation will not change. It is perfectly OK to feel this way, natural really. If you were a fish, swimming in a new pond, one that has not been polluted and because of that, can breath again without wondering what else is going to be dumped into your pond, would you worry how it feels to be in a clean pond? No, because all you would feel is nature as it was meant to be, not caught up in all that others have dumped on you.

    As the song goes: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose...."
  20. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you for all of your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, as usual.

    I have been thinking a lot about this comment, Cedar, about the kinds of things I would like to do to make my life bigger. But I have to say, you do so with great style!

    I love this so much.

    Yes, this is me exactly. I often think the deeper he goes into substance use and not responding to his family and pulling away from the things that keep him centered, the less likely we are to see "him" shine through again.

    But I am getting to the point where I think maybe that "him" I always assume is underneath? That might not be who he is anymore. And that makes me sad.

    Yes, I can see this, COM. I am certainly guilty of "othering" him, even demonizing him, in an effort to try to have some certainty to hold onto, even if it is bad. I can see where my need for a sense of control can even overshadow my hope, and that can't be for the good.

    What's that quote from The Shawshank Redemption? I should know it by heart; that movie seems to be on at least weekly.

    Something about hope being a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies..

    Yes. Sometimes it feels like the water is smooth and glassy, we're sailing along or maybe soaking up a little sun on the deck...and something surfaces. Sometimes we're not even sure what it was, or maybe it was just enough to rock the boat a little bit. Other times it is enough to nearly capsize us.

    We are pirates in many ways I guess.

    It is so hard, SO HARD, for me to walk this line, to remember who I want to be in this journey, when it is so easy, SO EASY to put the focus on what I perceive HE ought to be.

    And that freedom...in terms of complete freedom from THIS, from HIM and all of his BS...

    I guess complete freedom would mean not much caring anymore.

    Hmmm...well, that is NOT what I would have, even though sometimes I might vent enough to seem like it.

    I never really had that brought home to me before.

    To have nothing left to lose...goes back to that hope thing again.

    I think we have to keep a sliver of hope.

    Maybe we should call it a splinter of hope, because sometimes it hurts to keep it there.

    I agree with this. It will never be the moms or dads who post here who lack empathy. This is pretty much a self-selecting group of parents who care deeply.

    Not sure I agree with this one. I think we can empathize with them without buying into their BS. Even at my angriest, when my son is at his worst, I feel sorrowful that he seems to be trapped in a hell of his own making.

    I am not sure if your comment is directed to me or to Cedar.

    I don't see any guilt or naivete about the reality of her situation coming from Cedar. Cedar is my rock and definitely one of my heroines around here for that very reason. She sees it all and she still hopes and loves, and she pulls us all up with her.

    From me...well, perhaps. Perhaps I am still adjusting to what I am dealing with and not fully appreciating how the story might end.

    But certainly no guilt on my end (other than feeling a little inadequate sometimes, because I feel I get way more than I give in terms of support).

    OH! And I heard from him. He is casting blame and dodging responsibility, BUT he has a chance to come out clean on the other side of these charges, IF he follows through.

    Past behavior would indicate he won't...but he might.

    And I know that he is alive, and he knows that we love him and expect him to pull up his Underoos and deal with the mess he made. So today is a good day.