How many of us have adult difficult children we don't talk to?

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

  1. bertie

    bertie Been there too many times

    And how do you feel about it now?

    I'm curious.....I stopped talking to difficult child 2 (dtr) about 9 months ago. It tore me up for a long time, although she and I have always had a fractious relationship.....but she did so many things to hurt our family that none of us talk to her anymore.

    I'm now at a place where I feel very sorry for her, but it doesn't hurt as much as it did. I honestly can't see us coming back together for any reason.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I don't talk to M and haven't for over four years. I did request that husband ask him to come to Mother's Day brunch, and he did. It was very superficial. He's still making poor decisions about work and life and would never ask for our advice. We have recently given him very slight financial help after he had burned all of his bridges.

    His birthday is in a few weeks, and I want to send him something. A card at least, and maybe a gift certificate. But this is as much about my not being able to handle his not being grown up as it is about him not growing up. I love him. But if I don't like him, I can't stand being around him. He's not as bad as he was years ago, but he's still arrogant and superior. He's admitting doing horrible things to me to purposely hurt me, but never apologized. "I'm sorry" would go a long way towards healing. It means a lot to me. He's told me "I wouldn't be the man I am without you", but that's hardly the same, is it?

    He won't take our advice and I don't know that I can withhold my advice or opinions when he says something stupid like he wants to quit his job working in a pharmacy because they fill ADHD drugs that he objects to. He said this at Mother's Day brunch. I mean, we never had him medicated, so that's not it, it's just superior thinking that he knows better than parents and doctors. I just can't battle him on this stuff, and if I can't walk away from it without thinking he's an arrogant idiot, I just need to leave him alone.

    I don't pretend to know what the right thing to do here is. Maybe I'm making a huge mistake. Maybe I'm doing exactly what is needed. But it's what I'm comfortable with. Maybe one day I will be the one that changes in a way that makes things different. Maybe one day he will be. Maybe it will never happen. I hope he is happy, or finds a way to be happy. I can't let him use me as the focus of his discontent. Life's too short to live in the past forever.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I have stepgfg who has been in my life since she was just 3 yrs old. We haven't had contact since she took the kids and ran 6 yrs ago.

    At that point I was simply finished. Done. Kaputt. I don't know how to put it into words. But believe me there is no doubt once you've reached that point, even with a child you love.

    Stepgfg has recently contacted the family again via MySpace thru Nichole. As I've posted here.

    The parental love for stepgfg is still there. But the desire to be involved with her life is not. Once we were pretty close, and I'd worked hard for that relationship. Do I see us rebuilding the relationship or being close again??

    Seriously doubtful. Most likely not.

    I don't mind getting news on the grandkids. (if it's true) Or pics....if she ever does happen to send some......But I have no desire to speak with stepgfg at all.

    Do I feel sorry for her........No. She did it to herself. Sad as that is, it's the honest truth.

    Do I feel sorry for Kayla and Alex and the newest grandchild Evan. You betcha, I do. We're all the family they have. (Dad has no family at all) And because of stepgfg they don't even have us.

    Sometimes the things we break can't ever be fixed.:(

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Witz you said that perfectly. That's exactly my feelings with stepgfg.
  5. bertie

    bertie Been there too many times

    "I love him. But if I don't like him "

    Yes, I can say the same thing about difficult child 2.

    We have never gotten along - ever since she was born - literally - she wouldn't eat in the hospital, and we never got along after that.

    She has always resented me because I couldn't handle her when her father and I divorced, and I had to eventually give him sole custody. She was SO difficult! And in those days, I knew basically nothing about parenting. She would stand at her bedroom window after I'd dropped her off and scream and cry as I drove off. The guilt I've felt about that has never left me, but I have always told myself that I did the best I could at the time.

    Part of her problem is chemicals, but a major part is behavior. She once boasted that she was "the sneakiest person on earth".

    Lisa, unless I'm taking this out of context - I have to gently disagree with your comment: "Sometimes the things we break can't ever be fixed" - do we really break them? My difficult child 2 was born with major problems. True, the parenting she received from her father and from me as a child was not the greatest, but I truly believe she was "born bad".....and as much as I've tried to make up for it in the past, she doesn't appreciate me or anything I have done for her. I am absolutely done - kaput - with her, but it no longer tears me up inside of think of it. It's just the way things are.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    "Born bad", "went bad", I don't know. All I know is that I was more of a negative distraction in his life than I cared to be. And he was certainly the most negative thing in my life. Time to let everyone get on with their own happiness, and call it good.
  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Count me in. It's not that you don't love them, but you don't like their lifestyle.

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Oh, I didn't mean I'd broken it. :tongue:

    difficult child did the breaking. The problem is, when you do something like she did you run the risk of it never being able to be "fixed" again.

    Seems this never occured to stepgfg until 6 long yrs had passed. And other than Nichole, I think for the rest of us it was 6 yrs too late.

    Stepgfg is toxic. No amount of love or help did anything to change it. No one's fault except stepgfg's.
  9. bertie

    bertie Been there too many times

    Yeah, i can identify with someone being toxic. My difficult child 2 is exactly that way. Her step-mother and father have a no-contact order against her. Sad, but I'm moving on. In a way it's so much easier because my emotions were always conflicted when communicating with her.
  10. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    My eldest turned out to be a real pice of work, sadly enough, and although I love her very much, love her from a safe enough distance where she can't get close to do any more damage to me or to her brothers-I will not have her in my house, I don't trust her that much.

    I dealt over the years with some of her "quirks" - lord help you if she thinks you have done her wrong. Forging my name on docments that had I not worked for my boss for such a long time, would have meant an immediate dismissal for me and probably jail time for her. Her brothers, SO and I have rushed to her aid a few times after she hooked up again once again with another control freak and addict.

    She had moved back home, and tried to maniluplate difficult child into being removed, one way or another - since I refused to choose "him or her" she was bound and determined to get him out even if it was via being arrested and would goad him into melt downs using the foulest language and descriptive verbs (in front of the grandkids) hoping he would go after her (he never did although I was tempted to :( ) She lied to easy child about a ticket she told him she paid but didn't, resulting in a warrant for him. Took me for a large amount of money - I am such a dummy I believed something she told me.

    I call every other week or so to see how the grandkids are and just to keep in touch, (doesn't work the other way round) but I haven't seen her or them in months - ***** but anything more than a superficial conversation and she manages somehow to dis' me, saying something hurtful. I refuse to put myself out there anymore where as before I was jumping up trying to help her out - I realize now her life has always been and revolves around drama - and I am old, and tired. Am bent on keeping the bs to a minimum..

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son we adopted at six (which I"m sure is a big issue). He is thirty now and within the past two years has become an almost cult-like Christian (trust me, this is NO normal Christian--I don't even know if I can say he's really a Christians, since he thinks most Christians aren't Christians). At any rate, since marrying a woman who is as extreme as himself, he has had nothing to do with me and his siblings. He sometimes calls his father (maybe once a year). I have no idea what we did to him except we're not his idea of a Christian (almost nobody is). I hope he comes back to us one day and mellows out. I miss him.
  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Lisa, this perfectly sums up the situation between difficult child and me.

    What contact we do have is superficial. I do work closely with the staff at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to monitor the progress with his treatment and generally keep tabs on him, but I severely limit my interactions with him.

    I think that even with a track record of 10 ro 15 years without a single slip-up, I would still be hard-pressed to trust difficult child again. I can't let him back in because he tore my heart up, nearly destroyed our family, and darn-near killed husband, and it's been a world of pain rebuilding our lives.

    Over the last few months, difficult child's psychiatrist has tried some new treatments which have brought about positive changes for him. husband is thrilled with his progress to the point that I think he's being incautious in opening himself up to further heartbreak, but I'm still wary and very distant. I'm pleased to see that difficult child is making headway, BUT I can't believe in it. He is manipluative enough to be maintaining good behaviour just long enough to get back into everyone's good graces.

    I had a long talk with difficult child's one-on-one staffer last week, and she mentioned the same concern, so we are both watching him with caution.

    I have told difficult child more than once that I can't believe anything that comes out of his mouth, that I have to have independent proof, and without it I will always assume that he's lying. I've also told him that I avoid spending time with him because I hate his behaviour and what he has allowed himself to become.

    I've spoken my piece and there's not really a whole lot more I have to say to him unless he decides to change his ways.

    I have a very strange feeling that difficult child is hoping that if he behaves well long enough and shows that he's made progress, that husband and I will let him move back home again. (Frankly, I think husband having him at the house so often is feeding into this fantasy...for both of them). I do know that I will never live under the same roof as difficult child again, and if husband insists on bringing him back at some point, I will head straight out the door.
  13. judi

    judi Active Member

    Have only seen our son once since Dec 08 and that was for 20 minutes. Still love him very very much but he (apparently) doesn't want contact. The last time we saw him (in June 08 when we brought him a birthday present), he gave us both hugs and said he loved who knows. Was talking about going into the Army if he couldn't find a job. He doesn't have a phone and I'm not sure exactly where he is living.

    Its not the best - I worry every day. However, my life goes on as does husband's.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    GFGmom and I only talk when she calls me or stops by the house. That is not common. It is, frankly, a HUGE relief not to be absorbed in her drama and only occasionally hear about the "crisis de jour".

    My easy child son only gets in touch a few times a year in deference to his wife's
    preferences. We have adjusted to the limited contact and enjoy the visits when they do come to town.

    Truthfully, in a million years I never would have projected that my husband and I would be as isolated as we are from the other five adult children. on the other hand, I can understand that they resent us raising GFGmom's sons and therefore not having time or money to participate in their lives. We have two easy child
    daughters who truly "get it" but the others are more isolated than they need to be.

    Life is strange! DDD
  15. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    While thank you isn't an adult yet, I am not initiating contact anymore. In the past year or so, if I have initiated contact, it's like trying to pull teeth to get him to participate in a conversation and he inevitably has to mention some recent bad behavior. It's almost a game to him, though I do not let myself react.

    After hearing for a year solid how "it" is all my fault (his quality of life, global warming, war in Iraq, etc.), I'm pretty much tired of it. I'm also tired of having phone conversations, or more recently conversations in person, where he repeatedly says he wants no contact with us (unless he wants something or has a medical issue, when he calls with no hesitation). He knows our phone number and has been told repeatedly he is welcome to come home for a visit any time. Interestingly, visits are usually pretty decent.

    To be honest, I haven't really thought about how I feel about it. I think if I really *did* think about it, my heart would break yet again. I guess I'm on autopilot with him. I do hope in the future he will figure out that family isn't as horrible as he seems to think it is right now and that we will be able to have some kind of decent relationship but... for now, I'm just letting him figure it out.

    Kinda inhales forcefully, you know? My little family here is the world to me and it does hurt that he would be so careless... but on the other hand, not an unexpected attitude from old thank you.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Jeez, if I'd know that global warming was all your fault slsh, I would have stopped feeling guilty about my air conditioner a long time ago!


    If anything, I don't know that it's as important for now how I feel about it, as that I don't feel as much. I was way too wrapped up in the drama before, and it's nice to just be "me" again. Even if the "me" that I am finding is not exactly the one I left behind 20 some odd years ago.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I find this thread interesting. i had to force myself away from Wiz 2 yrs ago because 1 of us wasn't gonna survive it - probably ME and I had 2 other kids to raise. I am here if he calls, but he doesn't. Of course he IS 16 - and how many kids talk to their parents if they don't have to as teens?? I know he is safe, healthy and fairly happy. it is all I can ask for. Someday he may call. Or he may not. My therapist and I are working on how I feel about that.
  18. Kolleen

    Kolleen Guest

    Interesting to see this today. I have just been coming to this realization myself. We barely talk now, especially after the recent incident of both cars being impounded, driving without license (which he had thought he'd taken care of?????) court dates starting for this stuff. After sonnyboy is out of here end of Sept. we might have a chance of grabbing a sandwich once in awhile. We've done this in the past when he was out. Minimal conversation but at least a smidge of contact for me.

    At the Parent Meeting last night we also talked about this. This has become a concern of mine, especially since he's my only family in the state now. So I'm prepping myself for lack of contact. I only hear from easy child if I call him, big sigh!

    It's sad because when our picture of family doesn't match reality. I copied the following quote from someone on this board and really like it. We have to keep learning:
    "We did the best we could with what we knew...And when we knew more, we did better!" ~ Maya Angelou

    Take care..........