Have I learned?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by New Leaf, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am glad that I stumbled upon this site. I have been searching the web for knowledge, understanding, solutions and solace in our situation. It gets to the point where friends and family are weary of listening to the stories that unfold dealing with destructive parent/adult child relationships. When adult children are successful in their lives, it is a tremendous blessing. When adult children are having a difficult time realizing their potential and accepting their responsibilities, it is heart-wrenching: even more so when there are grandchildren involved.
    For many years now, my husband and I have been trying the best we can with what little means we have to be of help to all of our adult children. It has become painfully evident that for some, the help is not appreciated, but rather an expectation of entitlement. This has become a detriment to our health and lives, as well as to our son in high school.
    Our concern has been for our grandchildren, for the chaos they have been subjected to, while their parents have focused on their drama infused on and off again relationship, and partying.
    Each of the many times we have gotten involved for the past 11 years, it has been with the hope and vision of a better future for our grandchildren, and that our daughter would truly act upon her intention of leaving her abusive boyfriend. These homecomings start out with a show of responsibility, then degrade into eventually reconnecting with her boyfriend. We have dealt with the issues of TRO's, CPS, rehabs, counseling sessions, etc. We have had holes punched in our walls, destruction of property, house broken into and been stolen from. We have exhausted our savings, had temporary custody, no help from CPS, the list goes on and on, only to have our grandchildren end up back with their parents, enduring the same vicious cycle.
    Our grandchildren are of course adversely affected by the ongoing disruption of their lives. They are angry, they are destructive, they have learned that love means constant drama, yelling, fighting, followed by half hearted apologies, until it escalates all over again. It is frenetic, and highly stressful. They repeat this cycle (they seem to yearn for it) in their relationships with others. While they are with us, we have tried to create a bit of peace, to teach them manners and to treat people the way they would like to be treated.

    To include all that has gone on these years would be a novel, so I will try to be brief.

    The latest episode of homecoming unfortunately, albeit predictably, started and ended on much the same note. My daughter filed and was granted a TRO against her boyfriend for herself and her children and moved back home. She began to contact him shortly thereafter (unbeknownst to me). Eventually he snuck over (invited by my daughter) and they ended up arguing in the early hours one morning. I awoke to my riled up grandchildren running and playing about the house. My daughter ended up walking off and her boyfriend went looking for her. I tried to calm the children down and ready them for school as I readied for work. The phone rang and their father wanted to take them to school. I told him that they were shaken up and that I would take them. He was insistent, as was I. I did not want them to go with him. After hanging up, I called the police. Moments later, both my daughter and her boyfriend showed up. I locked the screen doors and told him I called 911- he took off. My daughter proceeded to go into a tirade, swearing, shouting hurtful things, blaming me for her troubles. The words my crying grandchildren heard as she ranted included "You are nothing but a F*#&ing B!*&%! She circled around the house screaming this at the top of her lungs repeatedly. She yelled for the children to come out of the house, that I had no right to keep them there. They eventually went out to her, the oldest was the last, reluctant and teary eyed- whispered to me "I don't want to go, but I have to look out for my brother and sister." Heartbreaking.

    The Police finally came and intercepted them walking down the road. After speaking with my daughter, they allowed her to continue on with the children, after all, she is their mother.
    I explained what had happened to the Officer and he was very kind. He told me that this sort of thing was 90% of their calls. He said there was not much I could do, but call agencies and ask for help.

    Shaken, I went back into my house to find my teenaged son curled up on my bed crying. He has had more than he can take.

    I have kept that vision in my mind. It has driven me to make some very difficult decisions and come to the hard, cold reality that I cannot continue to sacrifice his last few years and the peace in our household for the craziness that has been ongoing.

    That afternoon, after all of the frenzy of the morning, my grandchildren's father called and nonchalantly said "I've picked up the kids from school" long pause. I heard myself say "And where is their mother?" To which he replied "In the car." I thought for a second and said "That is good you picked them up, they are YOUR children, you and their mother need to figure things out and take care of your responsibility. I LOVE my grandchildren, but as far as having them live here, we are done."

    Have we been helping, or have we been enabling? Each time we have opened up our home, we have taken on a responsibility that belongs to their parents. There is a vast difference between asking for and receiving help, appreciating it, being a contributor, and using and abusing kindness. Each time they have come back home, our daughter has taken advantage of the situation, left them in our care, and gone out partying with her friends. Our grandchildren have been dangled before us, and we have "bit the bait" every time. We have helped too much. We have stunted their parents opportunity for growth and change.

    My youngest daughter, upon learning of the latest crisis, said " But Mom, it's not fair to the kids, why should they continue to suffer the bad choices of their parents? You and Dad HAVE to take care of them!"

    No, we do not have to take care of them. They have parents.

    Yes, their parents have NOT shown responsibility for their children. They have been reckless, thoughtless and abusive. Yes, this is a difficult position to take, some may say it is selfish, but I say it is self-preservation. If I continue this cycle, and keep on this path, I am not only sacrificing my own son, but my and my husbands health and the peace in our home.

    It is HARD, I am heartbroken.

    I pray everyday that God watches over my grandchildren and enters the hearts and minds of their parents, to see the blessing they have been gifted with. I am hoping that this time, they will turn over a new leaf, accept their responsibilities as parents, and make good choices.

    In the event that this does not happen I am strengthening my resolve to reply to the "Mom can me and the kids come home?" with this answer. "You need to go to a Domestic Violence Shelter." There, my daughter and her children will get the help and counseling they need. There, she will have to follow rules. There, she and her children have more of a chance to move on.

    I am trying everyday to learn from this experience, to push past the hurt, to put my sons well being and future in the forefront.

    This is all really too much for me to bare, so I give it over to God, and rely on Him for help.

    I will continue to pray for healing, peace, love and a bright future for all of us, especially my grandchildren.

    I pray that we all can turn over a new leaf.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some perspective for your youngest daughter: the only way it works for grandparents to take care of the grandkids is for parents to lose custody. That is, IF grandparents choose to take on the full-time role of "parenting" the grandkids, and IF the courts grant them sole custody... then it can work - but no guarantees.

    The current situation doesn't help the grandkids. You don't get to actually CARE for them. They know you love them, and that you will do what you can. But what you CAN do is highly limited because of their parents... and because of the other people in your home.

    Sending hugs.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome.

    Wow, you've had a rough ride. I assume, because your daughter is getting up there and should no longer consider your house her house. She does have three kids.

    From my perspective, and this is just ONE perspective, I am 62 and am realizing that I want to live my own life now. I've always been the caregiver, but that stopped. I no longer believe that we have to take care of our adult children if t hey are self-destructing. The way I look at it, I didn't want to have any part of emotionally or financially supporting my adult children if they are doing dangerous and unhealthy behaviors. I never had to deal with grandchildren when my kids had struggles, thankfully, so that is different. I think, maybe I would have tried to get custody of the grandchildren or offered my daughter to take in the grands, but not herself, if I were you. But if the grands were disruptive, maybe not. You have two more children who need a peaceful home too. And your youngest already thinks she has to care for her family, even if they are exhibiting really bad behaviors that disrupt everyone else.

    In my own opinion only, it is best for kids to learn that they are not responsible for the bad choices others make, even family, and that an adult is responsible for his or her own decisions and life choices.

    At any rate, that is just my opinion. I think you are doing the right thing for your situation. I wouldn't give her any more money. If you buy something for the grands (and I'd make it the grands only) I'd buy it or pay it directly rather than give any money. That is, if you decide to keep helping monetarily. I can understand the feeling of wanting to help the grands, but if it were me, the daughter wouldn't get a dime.

    Welcome again, but sorry you had to come here. Others will come along.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and hugs. My daughter is just 20, working and living out of the house. She loves her niece and nephews and wants the best for them. You are right, the reality is, the parents have custody, and we are limited. One day at a time.......
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is said that God will not allow us to deal with a situation we are not strong enough to handle. This is for sure a rough one and I am hoping that each time we have dealt with it, we have taken baby steps to learn and deal differently. Hard to break old patterns. Thank you very much for your advice and for sharing. It helps to know that there are folks out there who have had similar struggles and come out of them with new vision and direction.

    No money given-for sure will not go that route. I am hoping that my grandbabies will be able to visit us and spend quality time.

    For now, focusing on our son and supporting his dreams for the future!
  6. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    I never understood people who can not stand to be together but can not stand to be separate. This is so baffling to me my oldest brother is exactly like this with his wife but yet they have 25 years of marriage and most of their time together is spent arguing but they can not stay apart either. I just do not get how can you have such a relationship.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome New Leaf, I am so sorry for what you have been dealing with.

    I'm glad you found us. Here you will find support and a safe place to vent.

    It sounds like you have reached the point so many of us have and that is enough is enough. It's such a fine line that is so easily blurred between helping and enabling. We love our children and don't want to see them struggle or hurt so we step in and help because as a parent that's what we do. Before we know it we have been sucked into the enabling vortex.

    From what you have shared, you sound strong. You clearly see what you need to do. Detaching from our adult children is never easy but necessary. There is a good article at the top of the PE forum about detaching, it's very good.

    One of the best things we can do for our Difficult Child is to let them go, to stop following behind to clean up their messes because when we do this we stunt their growth, we do not allow them to figure things out for themselves. The longer we enable the harder it is for them.
    One thing that really helped me was to think "I don't want to be an 80 year old woman still taking care of my 60 year old son"

    I know all to well that "throwing" money at the problem does no good, it only drains the bank account.

    We cannot control what our adult children do but we can control how we respond to what they do.

    I am glad you are here with us now. There are years worth of experience within these pages.

    Please keep posting and let us know how things are going.

    Wishing you peace and calm.

  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Yes, these kinds of relationships are baffling.
    Perhaps Eminem pegged it in his "Love the Way You Lie" song-
    "Now I know we said things, did things
    That we didn't mean and we fall back into the same patterns
    Same routine, but your temper's just as bad, as mine is
    You're the same as me, but when it comes to love, you're just as blinded
    Baby please come back, it wasn't you,
    Baby it was me, maybe our relationship isn't as crazy as it seems
    Maybe that's what happens When a tornado meets a volcano
    All I know is I love you too much, to walk away now"

    It is part of an ongoing "drama-go-round" of action and reaction, these people are used to living with extreme dysfunction. I see it ingrained in the grandchildren, they seem to crave the turmoil. If it is too peaceable, they are "bored" and wind up picking fights at one another, not normal sibling tiffs, but all out shouting. It is disturbing. I wonder if it is a genetic trait in some, then slowly over time accepted by their mates? They say abusive people can spot their "relationship victims" in a crowd. I guess in the end the psychology of it all is very complex.

    What I do know is that I cannot change what is and I am learning about "loving detachment", where I can distance myself from the destructive patterns, yet continue to love my daughter and grandchildren without trying to step in and "fix" things.
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is one of the most insightful posts I've read about our kids and others who crave wild and crazy relationships.

    This doesn't have anything to do with how you can help your child, but I will share a brief story with somebody I once knew. He had married a girl from a very dangerous, chaotic place where people partied outside at night and slept during the day and the police were often called. He brought her to his beautiful home in a quiet, peaceful suburb and she left him because she was too bored there and he wouldn't move to her area.

    She chose chaos, danger, and excitement over peace. It bored her. It was an interesting story and fits right in with what you just said about relationships and some people so used to chaos that peace seems boring.

    I kind of think it is a bit of genetics and also environment. There are some people, brought up in chaos, who crave that dysfunctional relationship and play it over and over again and some who want the opposite so who knows? But people who grow up in chaos or who are predisposed to risky behavior can change as time goes by. Your daughter can change. The thing is, you can't change her. None of us can change another person. But we can know there is always hope.

    Hugs for your hurting heart and the tough decisions you made.
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  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am glad to have found you as well and astounded to have so much support so quickly. God Bless all of you who have replied with encouraging words. The help/enable line is very fine. I have been reading up on the concept of loving detachment and wish I had seen it earlier on. I suppose we all come to the crossroads we need to be at when we are open to taking a different direction.

    The patterns set by difficult children seem to be pretty universal, but we have to lift that parental veil of "unconditional love" in order to see what is happening to them and how we are dragged into the whirlpool. I have thoughts on the term unconditional. Maybe we can love them unconditionally, but not like them at the same time? Healthy relationships do have conditions- mutual respect being right up at the top of the list.

    I will concentrate on controlling my response, not do the "Pavlov's Dog" reaction, take a deep breath, and create a new beginning.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and reaching out through cyber space to a stranger!
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  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hugs to you too, and thank you for the story. I find it quite relevant to our situation. I have always told my kids that the most beautiful thing about life is that every second of every day we have the opportunity to make positive changes. You are wise, we can only change ourselves. Right now, I have to change the pattern of my reaction.

    I guess the hard part about that, is once we get sucked into the "drama-go-round" it just keeps going faster and faster. Just got to build up the confidence and take a leap of faith with hopes to land on our feet.

    Right now, I am enjoying the peace that has settled over the house. I see changes in my husband-way less tension. My son is more apt to come home after school. Even my dogs have calmed down.

    The ability to take slow, deep breaths is important. I do not need chaos, it is not exciting!
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome New Leaf,

    I join with the others in commending your strength and your clarity.

    I think you are wise to have this approach:
    Your grandchildren know you love them and they know you are there for them. As grandparents. They, more than anyone, understand their situations. Coming back to your home like a revolving door may confuse and stress them even more.

    Your daughter has made a mockery of the restraining order. You did your best to help everybody. She did her best to undue everything you did.

    By your decision, you are protecting the entire family. Your daughter and her children, too, as well as your son and yourselves. It seems that as long as you have had an open door policy your daughter has not taken it on herself to solve her situation. Perhaps your home has even served as a safety valve, so that the destructive relationship can continue. Standing firm, may help everybody involved.

    Keep posting. We are here for you. We are glad you are here with us now.
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  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I am very grateful to have found this forum. It has been a catharsis to be able to share this experience with others who understand the difficulties of our situation, the helpful, kind commentary and solid advice has been a strengthening factor to stay the course. It also helps to be somewhat anonymous, people grow weary of hearing these stories again and again and begin to wonder of our sanity. There is somewhat of a shame factor as well. I long to be able to tell stories of positivity and am hopeful that one day I will be able to. I think folks can also be judgmental because of the old "apple does not fall far from the tree" theory.

    I do understand that we try our best as parents and oftentimes fall short. Difficult children seem to hang on to these shortcomings to pull out as weapons and try to invoke feelings of guilt. It is an ugly game. I will not be a player anymore and fall victim to these tactics.

    It is true that my daughter has made a mockery of the TRO, and us, as well. She has used our best intentions to help, to continue on the same destructive path. Her children have become pawns and victims of the system. They are "cash cows" for food stamps. Their parents are deeply enmeshed in their cyclonic relationship, so much so that they do not care to see the ill affect on their children, and the family members who have looked on in dismay. Rather than continue to participate in the storm of negativity, I will be there when the time is right. For now I must stand firm, brush myself off, hold my head up and be an advocate for decency for my household.

    Thank you for being here. It is a bright light in dark times.
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  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, I think as you continue down this road by posting, you may move beyond the shame piece.

    A few of us have been trying to explicitly understand how our shame and guilt has contributed to and deepened the crisis with our adult children. When we felt that our children were not thriving, and as bad or worse, accusing us as responsible, it felt intolerable and we as if stood up to say guilty as accused. We searched ourselves for the fatal parenting flaw, and tried way too long to solve a situation that was not ours to solve.

    We felt uneccessary despair and by taking responsibility from our children, deprived them of the opportunity to stand up for themselves as adults.

    We are finding that there is no ideal shape or form of a family. No conditions that need to be met to love. That love is enough. And that is all we ever really wanted.

    We can come to that when we let go of the sense that we are responsible and that we have failed.

    The shame has to do with assumptions and expectations of ourselves and of our children about which we are largely unaware. Posting helps shine a light on them. The shame loses its power and can be let go.

    You have stood up for right and responsibility and love in your family. That is the beginning and end of it. Now it is time to rest. You have decided to let your daughter take responsibility for herself and her family. This signifies hope. It is a new beginning.
  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    New leaf, welcome to the forum. You sound both "done" and like you have a plan for what you will do next.

    Both of those conditions must be present in order for change to occur.

    A third condition is ongoing work on you. You didn't get in this situation overnight and you won't walk out of it overnight.

    I found that I could have incredible resolve but lose it due to interactions with my Difficult Child, my own doubts and fears and just time passing by.

    Our moods and ideas shift and ebb and flow and it is very hard to make one "final" decision and have it stick.

    I am glad you are thinking about the next phone call from her. One suggestion: actually write down on a piece of paper what you plan to say. Keep it short and simple and direct and clear. No matter what she says and how many Curve balls she throws, stick to what is on that piece of paper.

    You might also devise a plan for seeing your grandchildren away from your house and what that might look like. Again, write it down.

    This stuff is very hard. And it's about progress, not perfection. We are here for you.
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  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Your words are true. It has been a long road that is for certain. Resolve can weaken and old patterns emerge. I will not strive for perfection, but will work on myself for sure, and try to develop new strategies to avoid falling into the same rut. Writing things down on paper is a good idea to help stay the course when boundaries become blurry with memories, worries and emotions.

    Thank you for your good advice and for taking the time to lift up the lives of those reaching out.It is helpful to interact with folks who have been down a similar path. Thank you for sharing your knowledge through your own experience to help.
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  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My heart goes out to you. I know this is a very hard thing to endure. Right now I think you need to evaluate your priorities and YOUR responsibilities.

    You are a parent to adult children and to a minor child. You are also a grandparent. You are most of all a person. Each of these roles has responsibilities.

    In my opinion, your role as a parent to a minor child has the most important responsibilities. HIS needs must be a priority, esp above your responsibilities to your adult children and your grandchildren. In no way should your minor child be sacrificed to the drama CHOSEN by your adult children. He should also not have his needs be sacrificed to the needs of your grandkids. They are younger than he is, but they have parents. YOU are not their mother, your husband is not their father. It is up to their parent to provide for their needs, just as you provided for their mother's needs when she was a child.

    Your son curled up in a fetal position after the latest round of chaos is a clear message to you. HIS needs are not being met when you permit your daughter to create this drama in your home. HE needs a peaceful home where he can learn and grow into the kind of man you want him to be. You do NOT want him to live the way your daughter does, nor do you want him to be the kind of man your daughter chooses. I would urge him to see a therapist to help him cope with all the trauma his sister creates, and with his feelings toward you and his father for allowing the trauma to exist in your home. If he isn't willing to go after a few sessions that is okay, but let him know the option is there for him.

    I am NOT saying you are a bad parent. I am saying it is a bad situation and creates feelings in everyone, feelings that are really hard to cope with.

    I would find the phone number for the local DV hotline and post it near the phone and where you sit to talk to people. I would also post a list of short phrases that you can use to reply to your daughter when she calls wanting to come to your home. phrases like, "I am sure that is difficult to handle. You need to see what the DV shelter can do to help you with that." There is a list of phrases in the archives that can help - another parent here can direct you to them. They can help yoou NOT get pulled into the latest crisis that your daughter creates.

    Allowing your daughter and her kids to move to your home is something you have clearly done many times. By now you can see that it doesn't help anything or anyone, and just spreads her drama around to traumatize more people - you, your husband, your minor child and your neighbors. It does not change one single thing in a positive way. It is time to try something new. If nothing else, it will limit the number of people her drama inflicts pain on.

    She will be very angry, but after screaming curses at you for the entire neighborhood to hear, who cares? If she insists on coming over and doing that after you tell her she cannot come back to your home, you may consider getting a TRO for HER. She needs some clear signs that her behavior will NOT get any more support from you. if she goes to the DV shelter, does what they recommend, and changes her lifestyle, maybe you could consider helping her at that point. Until she does this, and becomes a responsible person & parent, it is time to stop helping her. Let her live with the logical consequences of her actions. If CPS is involved, let them know you will take the children but not the parent, and only if it is for a long term (if you are willing and able to do that) and not for a few weeks to just send them home again. The back & forth is too harmful to them and gives their parents no reason to change - it just gives them a few weeks of 'vacation' from parenting to go and party. That is pointless and NOT the reason you should take the grandkids.

    Yes, this will be hard. Yes, it will be hard on the grandkids. Hopefully you can still see them and let them know that you love them but cannot continue with the drama. If they want to testify to any abuse you will support them 100%. Other than that, they have to live with their parents and parents shouldn't live with grandparents - it doesn't work out well or change anything in a good way. The problems that the grandkids have should be handled by their parents, not you. If outright abuse is happening, CPS needs to get involved because if you try to fix it, the entire thing will just blow up in your face.

    I am so sorry you have to live with this. Others may not understand, but they don't live with what you do. We understand here, and are here when you need us. Please know that we may offer ideas and advice, but you are NOT required to take any of it. We won't be offended if you don't take our advice because we know that not everyone is ready at the same time, or ever, to follow any piece of advice.

  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I have come to a crossroads in my life right now knowing that the priority is ensuring peace in my household. Your thoughts about my minor son are on-point, I cannot continue to jeopardize his sanity and security in our home to try to help his sister and her children. It is all about choices, she chooses to remain in the drama go round, I do not.

    The most difficult part of this journey is the affect I see on my grandchildren. You are right, I am not their parent. It is sad that I am forced to make a choice between them and my son, but my first and foremost responsibility is my son. We have both been to counseling, and I will offer it to him again. He is a very level headed sensitive boy, and our rapport is amazing. I have always seen him as an old soul, and conversations with him are very straight forward. I have realized through his reaction the hurt this has been causing him and that I must act with clarity and sensibility to protect him from the chaos that comes with his sister, her children and the choices they make.

    It is heart wrenching, but at this point I have taken a stand that I will not raise my grandchildren even if they are removed from their parents. If I do-all of my focus would be on them, that is not fair to my child. If I did take them in, their parents would not make the changes they need to make. My grandchildren are very affected by their chaotic life, and wreak havoc in my house. They understandably are very angry, and often times take it out on my son. He has grown up with them coming and going, and each time, they have disrespected him, his privacy and his belongings. I love my grandchildren and know they are the way they are because of their situation. They will need intense counseling and a lot of time and effort to help them. My son is at a critical juncture in his life and deserves our full attention and guidance. Some may see this as selfish, I see it as self preservation and a decision to concentrate on my son and give him undivided support towards his future. I feel very strongly that if I take my grandkids in, I will lose my son. That is unacceptable.

    It is all so old, and it is all so new. Changing mind set, patterning and response is not easy. It is my husbands culture to take care of family, no matter what. I feel the same to a certain extent. There has to be boundaries, mutual respect, help and a clear direction of guidance and purpose.

    At this point, I am hoping that my daughter will wake up and smell the coffee. She has to. Whether or not she does is not up to me.

    What I can control are the choices I make for myself and my son. Whether or not my husband will put his foot down is an entirely different story, but at least my son will know that I am making choices to try to secure his right to live in a peaceable home.

    I will surely write numbers down and direct my daughter to a DV shelter in case she tries to return. I know that coming home simply does NOT work, for her and I.

    Thank you so much for your words and advice. I am glad to be here and to know that I have a safe place to share my situation. I am sorry for all of those that are here, and the rough roads that have driven folks to necessitate such a forum. It is a hard, sad fact of this world, that some of our children will choose destructive paths. I am learning that I can love them from a distance, until they start to show by their actions that they are making responsible, healthy choices.

    Peace to all and hugs to you for taking the time to use your experience to gently guide others.
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  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We are glad to have you here, Leafy! Please know that you are welcome to post as often as you want, as much as you need. Friends and family get tired of hearing about it, and they can be very critical even though they don't know the half of it and couldn't begin to cope with it. We have been through it in the most real and literal way, so we understand that a place to spill your heart out, vent, ask questions and generally just get support is what this is all about. Of course you are encouraged to offer support to others, but only when/if you are ready. Some of us come here so worn down and depleted that we are just unable to reply to others posts for a period of time. That is perfectly fine here. When you are ready, you can reply to others. There is no rush.

    I am glad that you are seeing that your young son has needs that must be met and are not. For parents, esp moms, this is often the realization that makes us stop and decide "No more". I am glad you have already had counseling for your son and will offer it again. That will help him cope with this and NOT create a conflama driven life for himself.

    I ran across a quote from Maya Angelou that I thought you might like: "When people show you what they are believe them."

    I just thought this might be an interesting thing to keep in mind when dealing with your daughter, her husband/boyfriend/SO/whatever, and your grandkids. It reminds me to look at and deal with people as they are and not as I wish they were.

    Maya Angelou is also the creator of one of my favorite words: Conflama. Conflict + Drama = Conflama

    Conflama describes what our difficult children cannot seem to live without - there MUST be a fight or other highly charged situation going on or they do not know how to handle life.

    Just a few thoughts.