How to respond?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tamarann, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    I appreciate so much of your advice that I thought I'd ask this: my oldest son (27) went through intensive mental health treatment two years ago and has been functioning extremely well since then. Took responsibility for his poor decisions when he was younger (he has 4 felonies) and really got his life together.

    Suddenly, a few months ago, he texted that he was very angry with me for having given birth to him, because depression and anxiety are hereditary. Seriously, WTF? We agreed to talk about it in person but now he refuses. This morning he texted that he doesn't know what we will accomplish by talking in person, although we have never actually had a conversation about it.

    My question is, how do I respond to this so I can let it go? Part of me wants to just text back "Fine, whatever." But I also want to defend myself on some level, tell him this is crazy, etc. I get the feeling it's not worth my energy to bother. The added wrench in the works is that his dad committed suicide when he was 17 so I am very careful to make sure that he knows he is loved and wanted. (And yes, I know it is not my responsibility to make him feel loved.)

    We live on the road so we'll be leaving here in a week or so, and my chance to see him will be gone. I miss him terribly, especially since our relationship had improved so drastically and wonderfully in the past couple of years. What happened????

    Again, thank you for listening. This place has been a real sanctuary for my mama heart <3
     
  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Based on what I've read here I'd probably not engage in this conversation.

    I swear I read where someone else just posted that their son said the same exact thing.

    Like give me a break! What does this even mean?!! I would not acknowledge it. He was probably having a bad day and is over it as often happens. I would certainly not "keep it going".

    Just love him from afar and hopefully he will keep himself on track. We really cannot live their lives for them.

    Hugs.
     
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  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I would not say anything. ​

    Its like when Kay says she would have been happier in her country of birth and that we kidnapped her from her her home of birthj (not a good place to live for an orphan). We can't address it as it is irrational and meant to hurt. I don't feel we or you need to defend us. Your son will not accept anything you say. He is looking for a fight. Them's fighting words!

    What are you going to say that he wont twist? You are sorry you gave birth? His problems are your fault because he is alive? This is not a place that I would visit. He will never let it go if you validate it as a true concern.

    I would say this only. "I am sorry you feel that way." That's it. No other words or further engagement or special meal out while he blames you for his life. Its Its ridiculous. If he goes on I might add "I am not discussing this" in a calm matter of fact voice Not another word. Less is more. Let him rail on and leave or disconnect the conversation.

    I don't think we do them any good by validating them when they are being insane. It just buys into their dysfunction and gives them one more excuse not to get well. "How can I get well when YOU passed along these horrible problems? Its your fault!"

    Even at our most enabling time, when Kay said the ridiculous, we were good at not engaging.

    I would talk to my child is he/she wants to get help or is needing advice about a healthy choice, such as getting a job or retaining services to help the situation. But not about if he should have been born. Honestly almost all people have something in the family. Should nobody have kids? That was for you, not him. I would not say anything about this to him. He is angry at the world for not giving him a free ride or for his own self made misery. I suggest not getting involved in his chaos and lack of logic and his abuse.

    God bless. Stay calm. Do nothing for 24 hours to think on. Block him for now so you have peace.
     
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  4. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you, thank you! I think sometimes we know what we need to do, we just need to be reminded. <3
     
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    How very sad that your son feels that way.
    You have two options:
    1. Do not respond
    2. I'm so sorry you feel that way because I love you very much.

    The main thing is to not engage in a debate over this. His thinking is simply not rational. That would be like me being angry with my mother for giving birth to me because I had cancer.

    I understand why your son would say this, he's hurting and does not like the fact that he has mental health issues. As his parent, it's so much easier to place the blame on you. His statement says much more about him and how he's dealing with his issues. I did not want to have cancer nor did I want to have to deal with it. It's something that will always be with me no matter how many years of remission I have. Just as a mental health issue will always be with that person.

    The only other thing I would add is to reinforce to your son how much progress he has made.
     
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I see a third option which is a combination of both of Tanya's.

    You can respond but not address his statement. Just ignore it. Why engage? It is to fuel negativity.

    You could say something like this: I love you.

    Nothing good will come, in my view, of begging him to talk or trying to convince him. (This is like playing both sides in a tennis game.) Likewise, defensiveness and reactivity will not help. Why be on the defensive? You did nothing wrong. You are not responsible for his choices. He is. You can play only one role. Mother. Who loves your son.
     
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  7. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Member

    I agree! I have had these situations with my son and defending myself made everything worse. And I learned ! I stopped defending myself and started setting boundaries in conversations. I don't accept blame, I don't accept other people defining me, I don't accept being yelled at, I don't accept being constantly interrupted.
     
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  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I think sometimes as people are figuring out issues they go thru phases where they blame their parents. And sometimes as they mature that phase passes. He may have needed to tell you what he felt but is not in a place where he wants to explore it.

    You dont need to defend yourself since you did nothing wrong.

    I think I would respond something like ok no need to talk about it if you dont want. But I miss you and would like to see you before we leave the area.
     
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  9. Chasejazz

    Chasejazz Member

    I feel like my son tries to bate me into conversations like that, saying the exact same thing...that he never asked to be born, etc. etc. etc...
    Inevitably, I find myself wondering what my life would be like if he were never born.
    Then, I feel guilty for feeling that way.
    Huge can opened,
    worms everywhere.
    I don't -- no, I can't engage in those types of conversations because they destroy me.
    For now, the space between my son and I is my only sanctuary.
     
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  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    They are not useful discussions. That's why we don't even consider a conversation about those things.

    We were big enablers, but we didn't engage Kay in nonsense discussions. Our family is very reserved, except for Kay and we don't believe a conversation is always the right way to go. Kay can be very crazy, telling us all about bogus government conspiracy theories and we don't engage in that. So we are not going to discuss if we "kidnapped" Kay from a very dysfunctional country where her birthmother gave her up. It is insanity.

    Some things in my opinion do not deserve to be discussed. They are pure bait. They serve no purpose and cause conflict, which is in my opinion the intention.

    Be well.
     
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  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I have found when my son goes to that place and baits me in some way, like telling me that I did something awful and will never meet my grandchildren (who do not yet exist) that if I stay calm and rational and say I did the best I could with what I knew at the time...and that will be your choice it deflates the argument. We dont always come to any resolution but he backs off and lets it go.

    When I take the bait we end up sometimes escalating the argument into ridiculous statements by both of us.
     
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  12. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you for your directness and your thoughts!
     
  13. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Ach!! Yes, I’ve been here before. The circular arguments that end up with ME sounding like I’m insane. Thank you for listening ❤️
     
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  14. LostInTheValley

    LostInTheValley New Member

    For what it's worth, at least he's texting you. Maybe you won't get to see him this time around, but remember that he cares enough to text you (or, perhaps more accurately, goad you).

    Also remember that your relationship has improved in recent times. It sounds like this phase is temporary (though perhaps cyclical, as it seems to be with a lot of Difficult Children).

    Sending you good thoughts : )
     
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  15. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I personally, in the life Iife I am trying live today, wouldn't want to.see Kay unless it was her intention.to treat us with kindness. I don't need to watch her beautiful face contorted with hate and venom. Seen that too often and I am in fetal position for a week.after such a meeting. Husband and I can not do it anymore.

    Seeing them angry is in my opinion mo gift. The only time some are nice is when.they feel being nice one time gets them money or hurts us. We can't anymore..
     
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  16. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Member

    To me , saying they didn't ask to be born is just an excuse to not take responsibility for their lives.
     
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  17. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Member

    Yes! It's projection. They feel bad inside and want to get those feelings out, so inciting an argument is a way to try to do that . We can get addicted to those chemicals in the body like adrenaline that we feel when we create conflict. I have done it!
     
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  18. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    This is true I think.

    . Good insight about being addicted to the chemicals that are produced from conflict. I have realized that I am somewhat addicted to Josh's drama/negativity, which is bizarre, because why in the world would I want to experience that pain over and over again? Life without the pain feels odd right now; I'm having a hard time remembering what it was like before it all went downhill.
     
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  19. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I can vividly recall conversations (if you can call it that) with my son where I just completely lost my shi* and screamed and worked myself into a frenzie and then I looked like the out of control one. I'd then question my own sanity and realize how unhealthy that was for me and that it did absolutely no good.

    I think they can bring this out in us because we love them so fiercely but I just don't do that anymore.

    Turn the conversation around and walk away feeling good about how you handled it. This takes lots of practice, prayer and patience!!
     
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  20. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I agree; it does take practice. This morning, I texted Josh to ask how he thought things were going this week at my sister's house. He responded by asking me why I was bothering him with that question and to leave him alone; that we're miserable, he doesn't want to talk to us; we only care about our welfare, etc. etc. And all this after we put him up in a motel last weekend to the tune of $400 so he wouldn't be on the street for three days while my sister and brother in law were out of town.
    I just responded, "I'm sorry you feel that way because I love you very much and want things to go well for you." I wanted to argue with him and give him a piece of my mind about the sacrifice we made and his ingratitude but didn't. I ended by saying, "Okay. I will let you get on with your day. I love you." It's hard but there's no point in arguing or trying to reason with him to get him to see what a crummy attitude he has; he will only argue back and escalate.
     
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