I am sad and desperate and hopeless again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I'm not asking anything of him to see him. I never have asked anything to see him.

    He uses so much mj he can't walk. His judgement is impaired. Imagine. Leaving a hundred dollars or more of mj sitting out in the yard in full view.

    Maybe there's so much water under the bridge we can't walk this back.

    He probably does feel judged by me. That he can't, won't meet my expectations. Like tired says, I've created a battle of wills. He may agree but he'll fight me just to be right

    And all that makes me feel defensive. How am I wrong to want that he wants something?

    I am better off away from him. And I add no value to his life either. Not anymore.
  2. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Copa, you are asking something of him. You are asking him to be in a particular place at a particular time. That feels like nothing to us. But to our kids living in chaos, this is a big ask. This is what I’ve called me to realize with mine, anyway.

    To him, being a couple hours late, or blowing off a meeting entirely, is just par for the course. He makes plans that he really does intend to keep. He wants to. But when the day arrives, things are different. What sounded doable then feels impossible now. Or things just don’t work out the way he planned. He oversleeps and misses the train. Or whatever. In his mind, these things are not his fault. They just happen.

    In his mind, you should have waited an indefinite period for that last meeting. He was on his way. A couple hours late, sure, and yeah he should have texted you back sooner, but why couldn’t you just wait or turn around? Why did you have to hold him to the exact letter of his agreement when it’s so hard? Stuff happens.

    That’s HIS thinking, I’m guessing, because it would be C or S’s thinking. It is reasonable to us to say ‘if you’re not here by X I’m leaving.” It is not reasonable to them, because they are living in a world where time is fluid and commitments are often broken by everyone. It’s normal in their world.

    I’m not saying you are wrong or should have done things differently. You and I are operating by the rules of the normal world, where people have jobs and commitments and respect each other’s time and follow through on their word. I truly believe that this is the ‘right’ way to live, and I wish my kids lived in this world with me. But they don’t.

    So I’ve had to make a choice. I can be ‘right’ and insist that any meetings happen on my terms and according to the rules I set down - e.g. be here by x or I am leaving. If you’re not ready when I come to pick you up we’re not going to lunch. Etc. I can set these rules and accept that it means there will be no relationship.

    Or I can enter the chaos with them. Just for a little bit, very occasionally. I accept that when I head into the city they may stand me up, or they may be very late. I may show up at whatever flop house they are in to pick them up and discover that they are too drunk to stand at 10:00 in the morning. When a meeting does happen, I realize they may stink, and they may be too impaired to carry on a conversation.

    So why do it at all? Why not just say if you can’t live by the rules or normal society, meet me on time and be in reasonable condition, we can’t meet? That would be a very reasonable position to take. And most of the time I stay in my world, and they stay in theirs. I don’t send money. I don’t see them often. I don’t solve their problems. I am very clear on my boundaries - and so are they by now.

    But a few times a year, I make a conscious choice to enter the chaos, so I can maintain the relationships. See that they are alive. Let them know that I haven’t given up on them. That there is still a way back to a different world if they want it. I don’t leave things totally open ended - sometimes I’m out of time and have to leave before they show. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. But I no longer get upset. I take a book and recognize I’ll most likely be waiting a while. If it doesn’t work out, I recognize that reflects the chaos they live in and not the love or respect they have for me. It has nothing to do with me.

    Maybe I am wrong to do this. Maybe I should expect more of them as a condition of my time. But it’s the bargain I’ve accepted to maintain whatever tenuous relationships we have.

    I don’t know if this makes sense. Maybe it sounds crazy to expect so little from them. But expectations haven’t gotten me anywhere. Acceptance, and meeting them where there are (both literally and metaphorically), has at least kept doors open between us. Most of the time.
  3. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I agree.
    It depends. DO you really believe;
    I don't. I think you add value. Simply becasue he KNOWS you love him YOU add value.

    Defensive about what?
    You want something for him. Hopefully 1 day he will wake up and want something for himself. That is my hope for Ben too. Right now mine is (supposedly) happy living in a apartment with his girlfriend (who is in college and hopefully doesn't dump him after she graduates) and working at a low paying job. I think he is happy becasue the job has no real demands, no real brain power needed.
    I told you mine doesn't even bother to answer a text unless he initiates and HE wants something. Even if I just send him a text of a simple question. JERK. It hurts my feelings so I refrain.
    Don't bother contacting J anymore wait for him contact you. Let it all be on his initiative, if you don't hear from him just carry on with your own life.
    How's M? Is he back with you? If not I hope you have someone to give you a hug and support in the physical world.
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  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Your role in my opinion as the mom of an adult is to have a friendship. Yes, it is hard to do that with some of the adults who bring us here. They act youmg and do t work so there are few topics to be friendly about. But "So whats new" and just listening always works.

    I have Friend Mom conversations with all my kids, even Bart quite often. Giving advice or judgment is not part of our dialogue.

    Now my adult kids, to be fair, are not struggling on the streets and if I disagree with something they do it is minor and I let it go. But even on a more critical scale, .what more can we be to an adult child than a friend? Adults dont listen to us. As we did not listen to our parents. Did we? At 20? At 30? No. So I feel our role with an adult most of the time, unless they ask for our feedback, is to be a strong, loving friend. We get nowhere telling them what to do.

    My best times with my kids, especially my girls, is eating out, shopping, listening to their lives, making jokes, and lighthearted chit chat.

    There was a wise lady from the UK here once. Her son wanted to live in the wild with trees and other hippie types. She had wanted uni and convention for him and I believe better hygiene too. But she learned to accept his radical values and lifestyle and their relationship is I recall, improved and so did her nerves.

    I think that was brave and smart of her.

    Love to all and hugs and light
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Super side note...keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily apply to a Difficult Child:

    I have a relative who is a professor. He teaches a course that is one of the final courses of the curriculum. And is required. There are few assignments. Perhaps two or three for two or three grades. The last one counts the most. If you fail it, you fail the course. AND you will have to take the class again.
    The last one is some kind of project...I think with a paper. Not sure.
    Anyway, the project is due at 5 pm on a certain day at the end of the semester. It is on the syllabus. It is announced repeatedly. If the project is turned in at 5:01 you fail. No joke. No lie. No exaggeration. He will consider and only consider an exception if you were in a serious accident and forced by ambulance to the hospital moments before the deadline. Or if your parent or child died within moments of the deadline and you can provide proof. In decades, I think he has only given ONE extension. It is a hard fast rule. It is not to be mean, but to prepare them for real life. He tells them to hand it in a few days ahead of time. It is foolish to take ANY chance because you simply will not get an extension. You can write the president of the university and unless it is the most extreme of circumstances and well documented too, you will not win.
    Anyhoo...in my estimation, about 1/3 hand it in a few days ahead of time. A handful hand it in that morning. Another group hand it in about 4:45. Omg. Almost always there is someone who hands it in at 5. There is someone there with a stopwatch. Omg. One minute later and they would of lost all their money for the course and gotten an “F.” Approx every other semester someone comes in well after 5. Or even 5:01. Hmmm. “Can’t you make an exception?” It’s almost laughable. Nooooo. They cry. They scream. They see the chairman. The chairman says it’s documented all over the place. Forget it.
    Interestingly, over the many years...some of these “kids,” have written the professor and thanked him for teaching them what true maturity and responsibility means. Up until that point...they didn’t know. And some of them have even credited him for helping them become great successes in their field.
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have been using one of Tired's rules about texting, the one, don't text first. So. I didn't text for about 4 or 5 days, and my son wrote, Hi Mom, to which I responded, Hi. I'm proud of myself and it feels better.

    My question is about telling J. about Dolly. (We euthanized our dog today.) I feel he needs to know. There is no good way to tell him. What do I do? Do I wait until I see him, or speak to him? Or do I text him. I don't know what to do.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think its okay to text him about the baby. Thats a notification of a sad event and wont cause an argument. Yes, do let him know.

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  8. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I agree. Better tell him by text in a timely manner than wait what may be a long time for a real discussion and have the ‘what? Why didn’t you tell me!’ Reaction. Our kids, In general, don’t have the same social rules around ‘don’t use text to break bad news’. Text is the normal and preferred mode of communication for my kids, at least. No matter what the topic. They spill their guts through text. They fight through text. They break up through text. Just be gentle in the delivery ...maybe ease in with ‘I have some sad news to share I knew you want to know...’
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  9. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I differ on this. It is sad news. he isn't in a good place why make him sadder? Is it to make you feel better that you told him? Will he benefit from the news? I know if Ben's favorite cat died I wouldn't text him about it. I would wait until he stopped by and then let hi know Big G passed. It would make him sad. If Big G was sick and I thought it imminent that he was going to pass I would break the no text 1st rule and text to let him know so he could come say good-bye if he so choose. --but I see him, he only lives a mile a way. You don't see J and he won't know the difference unless he comes back.
  10. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    In another thread--I told you the other day I broke my "no text" rule and I didn't hear from him. Shame on me.
    Well.. sometimes I think this board may be bad and make me thing the worst becasue these dcs do so much crappy stuff, or don't do anything at all. I thought he was being a jerk.
    Today (I am always home Wed mornings) I was vacuuming and my "ring" went off--motion at front door-- I look at the door--Ben ringing bell.
    I go to door. "what?? everything ok" Ben "yes. I just didn't want you to worry if you tried to text me- I didn't realize it till Saturday at work, but my phone wasn't showing texts and Sunday I took it to Verizon and they sent it in (He bought the insurance) I should have it back by Friday. " He was on his way to work, he is working 2 jobs so he doesn't have much time off.
    SEE sometimes things just happen. It doesn't mean anything. I hate that sometimes I read way too much into them.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is what I decided. But unfortunately I typed the words, I had to euthanize Dolly, without sending the text, and I saw the next day that the text had sent itself. Because he had responded. I felt badly. I regretted it.

    You're right. I had written the words because I did not want to be alone with how sad I felt and then I realized it was selfish, which was why I idd not send it. (Now I know that texts send themselves. I did not know that.)

    But I also agree with SWOT and Elsi that there were risks of holding back the information. I mean. My son was 21 when we got Dolly together. He lived here with her for half her life. He deserved to know and to hold back the information, felt wrong. But sending the text felt wrong, too.

    He felt badly. He worried for me. He wrote, "I weep for Dolly." And then he said, this settles it, will never come back (to where I live). He gets dramatic like that. He said he expected that she would die while he was gone. That she had lived her regular lifespan. (We have had other boxers, and they don't live more than 10 to 12 years. Dolly was 10. (She had a history of bad trauma. I wonder if this was part of it.)

    But I feel bad, because he is attached to all three animals, and has a sense of responsibility to them, even though he doesn't necessarily meet it. He loves them. He texted again the next day, the Mom? thing, but has not written again.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I know. I just flashed on this too. Sometimes I think that this board is a way to keep myself focused upon my son. Like 24 hour news. But I come here to visit with you and the others. But at this point I think we could NOT write about our kids and I would STILL come here to visit and check in. When I get around to go to work and get a life, I don't know how I'll manage to keep up here. I kind of don't want to move on.
    This is so SWEET and considerate.
    That's fantastic.
  13. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    Sorry about Dolly, Copa ((()))

    I don't believe that you don't add value to J's life anymore. Maybe you just said it out of desperation, but I hope you know it's not true.
    He calls you. He's looking for you. That's what it feels like from the things he does and says. And you are there.
    Maybe this is infinitely more important to him than you know.

    I'm sorry if this is more burdensome than helpful. I know that I feel all the more helpless when I think that L misses or needs me, and that it's easier (in some ways) to think that he doesn't.
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you Baggy.

    Any news from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or from L? How are you?

    I just can't believe Dolly is gone. I regret we did not bring her home and wait a few days. We would not have come to a different decision, but it might have been easier on me. I would have had time to grow into it.

    You live with an animal for 10 years and they are the baseline of your life. Her snoring. The security and company and kisses. Sleeping with her. I've been through this before, but I can't remember the loss being like this.

    I could not have made another decision. But oh how I regret it. If I could change my mind and could bring her back home, I would. Even for a few days.

    I think I did not bring her home because I knew that would be harder on me. Actually, it's good to write this. Bringing her home would have been a torment.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  15. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Over dramatic. Ben can be like that too. That's when I want to yell GROW THE HECK UP!

    EEEK. Glad mine doesn't do that. I can write a text forget to send and it is still sitting there and my screen shows it as a draft. (Verizon/Samsung Galaxy) . Maybe you sent it when you put the phone down, before the screen locked--that is easy to do.

    There was a situation on a tv show not too long ago about a mom and enabling her son.
    The big question--Mom--are you doing this for your son or to make yourself feel better? to calm your own anxiety. Son needs to grow-up and Mom HAD to stop. Period. She had to decide to stop herself. She was addicted to helping BUT by helping son didn't have to take responsibility to help himself.

    Copa- I need your input-- a couple of days ago (we had lots of snow) I picked Adam up from his day program. As I was pulling out I got stuck (wheelchair van has low clearance streets not cleaned very well) anyhow a man was walking by and stopped to help us, he told me what to do and pushed me out quickly.. I am pretty sure he stays at the Mission which is 3 blocks or so down from day program. Anyhow--yesterday I saw him hanging out with 3 other men (they are probably in their late 30's). There is a decent coffee shop within walking distance- do you think it is ok to get him a gift card for the coffee shop? (I don't want to get it for grocery store too many not ok things he can buy) Coffee shop has all sorts of sandwiches and beverages (no booze or cigarettes, I wouldn't want to contribute to that stuff). Would you be ok with someone doing that for J?
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Tired out, if somebody was that nice to me I would (and have) gone to a nearby grocery stores myself to buy tall jars of peanut butter (lasts a long time), bread, big cereal boxes generic, usually some milk, and a few other foods that dont spoil and last a long time. Or if its cold out I may buy a warm hat, coat, socks, anything useful. Try Goodwill. Maybe a two day visit to the Y for showering.

    I help tje homeless whenever I can. And this time he helped you and he didnt have to.

    Love and light!!
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think the most respectful thing would be to buy something that would buy for any other person who had helped you in a scrape when you really needed help. I think that a gift certificate is always welcome. People are giving each other gift certificates all of the time. The thing is this: is this a coffee shop he would be comfortable going to and that would welcome him? It is not always clear where somebody feels comfortable and where somebody is accepted.

    And then there is the subject of dignity. Now. My son would be insensitive to that. But to me, it matters. People at the supermarket where I live have taken up my son as a cause. It really bothers me that it does not bother him. But that's me. I recognize that.

    I would not go to thrift shops. Nor would I buy essential foods. You don't know where he lives and what kind of storage facility he has. However practical and humane this would be, you are recognizing his humanity and dignity as a person, not his basic needs, which I think could be demeaning.

    I don't know how much money you were thinking of for the gift certificate. I would give the certificate in a card, with a lovely note. I think he would appreciate it very much. The only other thing I might think about is for the same amount, more or less, you can buy an MP3 player, or a good flashlight. Something like this would be a gift, not a handout. With the card.

    If I did buy clothes it would be new ones. Something like excellent wool socks or an excellent wool hat. Both of these things would be wonderful. Or both.
  18. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Copa, thinking of you today. It wouldn't have just been harder on you. It would have been harder on DOLLY. If you'd brought her home, you would have only prolonged her suffering, so you could have a few more days with her for your benefit. You did the loving, humane thing. When humans reach the end of life and are suffering, we give them lots of morphine because dying can be hard and painful. We don't have that kind of hospice option for our pets. All we can do is ease them out of this life before they have to suffer. You did the right thing. Don't linger in regret.

    And don't beat yourself up on the text either. I can understand the perspective that it is better to tell them in person and not by text, especially if they are already struggling. I guess I see this differently, though. I don't see my wayward ones regularly. If I wait for the right time and the right way to tell them something, I may be waiting for weeks. And then, on top of being upset about the news, they will be upset that they weren't told. Sometimes, their phones are off and I can only communicate with them asynchronously through Facebook Messanger, which they can see when they are somewhere with WiFi. Sometimes, they just don't pick up voice calls or listen to voice messages, because their generation, in general, communicates differently than we do and my kids, in particular, are living in chaos. So I may try to call and ask them to call me back if I have heavy news to share. But if I can't reach them live, I have to tell them somehow. Sometimes that way is not what we would think of as ideal. I had to tell C over Messanger when my grandpa died because I had no other way to reach him. I tried to soften it as much as possible and told him to call me to talk when he was able. He appreciated being told. I did the same when Stellaluna died, and Lady D. (Though Lady D was not part of their childhood, so that wasn't as upsetting for them.)

    I don't see these things as me selfishly wanting them to share my pain. I see it as a matter of respect for them. They are still part of this family. If I let them wait weeks to hear what the rest of us already know, I feel that it drives a further wedge in the relationship, making them feel like they are no longer part of things and no longer matter in our wider family life. Some things they need and deserve to know when they happen. And I have to use the channels they leave open for me to do that.

    Just wanted to second this. You absolutely matter. And you add value. I know right now he is making it hard to connect. But I truly believe you WILL connect eventually, and your relationship will continue to grow and evolve. Sometimes we have to have patience. He hasn't severed the ties entirely - he keeps reaching out. There's a reason for that. Because you matter to him. And you add value to his life.

  19. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Right. Usually it is a fast food gift card. But considering where he lives the coffee/snack shop seems the best thing. no fast food in the area. I think everyone feels comfortable in there. I shy away from buying anyone other than family personal items such clothes.