I Feel Like a Loser

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Mechdonna2, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    My husband and I have detached from my difficult child and his girlfriend just within the last month. Most of you know the nearly unbearable pain that goes along with the detachment. Once difficult child moved to our area from FL, my sister did not agree on the way my husband and I handled things. She believed his lies and said that I was wrong about his drug use. There were times we were not on speaking terms.

    Prior to his arrival from FL, my sister had invited me on a short trip to the Gulf Coast. I found out a few days ago that she planned a trip with her college-age daughter and did not invite me. When I asked why, she said she did not think of me when she planned the trip. She said there were times we were not on speaking terms. This is a trip to celebrate her 50th birthday. She apologized through e-mail saying she would love for me to go. I am maxed on my credit card. She makes $55 per hour, but she did not offer to lend me the money. My husband does not like the beach, so he expects me to go with other people.

    I feel like my difficult child stabbed me in the heart and my sister has twisted the blade.

    Does this happen often in families of difficult children? My difficult child is living off his girlfriend while he drinks and they both use spice. (I am not positive about the spice.)

    Since my son is so troubled, I feel self-conscious. I feel that I must also appear as a loser, since I am the mother of a difficult child.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think it happens a lot in families of difficult children because there are usually many in the same family. Your sister could be one. I don't care how much she makes an hour. Who is she to judge you regarding your child and to tell you he' snot using drugs? But difficult children do tend to cause rifts in families where there are already a lot of enmeshed people (not healthy) or in families where there are other difficult children.

    Your sister's opinion or activities have nothing to do with whether or not you are a "loser." "Loser" is in the eyes of the beholder. People who post here know that a difficult child can pop up from even the best family and we'd never think of you as a loser because you happened to raise a child who, as an adult, made bad choices. That's on him. Unless you plow him with alcohol and force him to use spice, HE is the one doing the self-destructive things, not you.

    Do you really want to go on a trip with a judgmental person? Sister or not, she is self-righteous and judgmental about your situation which in my opinion makes her a difficult child herself. You may need to learn to detach from all judgmental people, which means take their opinions with a grain of salt. You can't control what other people think and it is really unimportant. If Sis wants to hurt you because of your difficult child, which doesn't make much sense, it's best if you can just think "oh, well. Too bad, but I have other people in my life, not just Sis." DNA alone does not make a good friend or a wonderful support system. I have learned this first hand.

    Your son could be troubled for a million different reasons. You are not the only person he has had in his life. His peers are possibly the ones who talked him into the drugs. Or the girlfriend. Did you tell him to take drugs? I didn't think so.

    I highly recommend going to a Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meeting. I have started to go again myself and you can see if it helps you. It does me! You don't have to speak if you don't want to. You can just go, sit in, and listen. Nobody there will judge you. And it doesn't cost anything. This is my second round with Twleve Step and it helped me right away, although I am just starting my second round and am still struggling. But after each meeting, I feel a reprieve. And I'm determined to nail those twelve steps again...they are VERY much a group-speak learning about taking care of OURSELVES and DETACHING from the choices others make, and that would include your sister.

    Big hugs and this is NOT your fault. If sister doesn't think your doing things right, that is only her opinion...doesn't make her right...and in my opinion you should move on to supportive family and friends rather than focusing on her judgment.
  3. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    Thanks so much for your opinion. Those you love have the power to hurt. I forgot to mention that she has an alcoholic husband and worries that her children will follow. So, I am thinking some of her actions result from fear. That does not make them right.

    I will go to Al-Anon meetings again. Also, I ordered the book, "When Parents Hurt."
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mechdonna, I'm sorry that you have to deal with not only your son but the responses from your sister as well. Yes, I agree that often families are disrupted and torn apart by the behaviors of difficult children. MWM has given you good advice, if you are being judged and ignored by your sister, it is likely that staying home is your best option in this situation. The lure of a vacation may put you in a negative situation where you will feel obliged to justify your actions and defend your own behavior towards your son. You needn't do that with anyone, people outside the realm of our difficult child's do not know the reality of all of it.

    It is unfortunate that your son hurt you and then your sister followed suit, but now it is up to you to make the right choice, and from what you've stated, going on this trip would not be the right choice. Difficult as it is at times, I have found it to be best to keep a distance between myself and people who are judgmental, critical and righteous, these are not folks who love you and have your back, they are usually folks who have a strong need to be right and will throw you overboard to stay right.

    Going to a 12 step group, or therapy, or any form of support is a great idea and I hope you follow through on that, you will meet others who can empathize with you, who have compassion for you and who can really understand what this is like for you. It sounds like it would serve you best to take a step back and let the situation evolve without you, at some point in time your difficult child will reveal his true nature to your sister and she may at that point be able to see the truth and be in your corner. In the absence of that, I don't imagine being with her is a safe or comfortable or healthy place for you to be. You are not a loser, you are a wounded warrior mom and those who judge you and don't have the capacity for compassion are the real losers. Step away from all of them and go enjoy your life....................hugs.........
  5. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    You are right that I should not go on this trip. She apologized through e-mail after she planned the trip. If I had the cash on hand, I may have gone. That would have been a big mistake. When I look back, I see that she has been cruel many times through the last 10 years. I have been in denial. I keep blaming it on my being too sensitive or her menopause. I am afraid our relationship deteriorated long ago. I have been in denial, since it so painful to accept. She is younger than I am by almost 10 years. I felt like her second mother while she was growing up.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  6. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My problems with my teen difficult child made me feel more the loser part than now. When I was a single parent, struggling to put food on the table, and my difficult child took advantage of the fact to run wild, I was told by school admin and police that I had to do something to reel in my out of control son. I sometimes wonder if I had quit work and gone on welfare would my difficult child turned out different.

    The fact that all of my vacation time, time not working, and money was spent TRYING to get him into a program that helped was overlooked. I felt like the worlds biggest loser! My difficult child knew of my guilt and used it against me for many years before I finally convinced myself I did the very best I could. Now when he tells me about the drug infested neighborhood we lived in I remind him it was his choice to sneak out the window and use drugs with his friends.

    Like RE, I steer clear of people reminding me of the many things I did wrong. I don't discuss my difficult child with family, or really anyone other than limited with my hubby and daughter. I need to get away from it and constantly being reminded makes me feel low.

    I watch the difficult child's drama cause divisions in a lot of my family. A true difficult child is out for themselves, regardless of who they have to steam roll to get what they want. And most want a free ride! Your sister will see their true colors soon enough, if not, thank the heavens above someone was actually able to get them gainfully employed etc. And then, can I send my difficult child for her to fix lol???

    I have found things to keep me busy (and I enjoy) that do not involve family or difficult children. It's wonderful to go out and get away from problems. Keep an open mind with your sister, and try very hard to not say, 'I told you so' I just had this opportunity with a close relative and they truly do not understand until they walk in your shoes.
    (((blessings and peace)))
  7. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2


    Our situations are very similar. I was thinking that my son is a sociopath, but I think he is capable of some empathy. If you remember, my son is 36 years old and using with his girlfriend.

    I listened to a preacher on the radio this morning. He was saying that teenagers often lose respect toward their parents and other authority. They learn to use the words that cover up this lack of respect. They become deceitful, callous, and cynical. He said that they decide to disobey God and their parents. As time goes on they become dangerous to society and to themselves. If we should ever have grandchildren, maybe we can keep them on the right path. He said to always take the time and look into their eyes when you talk to them. He says that eyes are the pathway to the soul.

    I was also a single parent, and I wondered if I could have kept him out of trouble if I had been a stay-at-home Mom. I believe that he would have given in to peer pressure, regardless. For some reason, he always had little self-control.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  8. Gran2Angels

    Gran2Angels Member


    I understand how you feel. I fight those feelings everyday. We are not losers.

    My difficult child always told stories and half-truths to try and gain sympathy from family and others. Still does. For the most part, everyone sees right thru her now. After so many years of it, they will get it. It's the difficult child, not you.

    I finally came to the conclusion that she was trying to divide and conquer. If she started family drama with her pity parties and how I misrepresented her, or whatever, then the focus was off her. Mine was a master of it. She's thirty now and it's all catching up with her. It's been a long, hard road.

    I hope you can find peace. I would like to suggest that you read, read and read some more on this forum. Reading the wisdom and experience here has helped me more than anyone other thing. It's a powerful place.
  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Don't go near her, it will be too dramatic and not enjoyable for you. Save your money and go away at a later date with your husband. There are people who judge us for our difficult child's behavior- I even judge myself- ignore, they have their issues as well.
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I love the honesty in your post, and in the replies.

    There is so much healing in facing these feelings, in bringing the pain into the open.

  11. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    This is really scary. I have been dealing with my son's drinking for over 20 years. Since he was in FL for most of the time and I was not, I only shared my problems concerning him with close friends. He is now living not far from me. Since my sister has disagreed with me about his situation, my pain has doubled. Now I do bring him up with more people. The part that is scary--nearly every person I have spoken to lately has an alcoholic in their family. They are going through similar issues.
  12. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You are not a loser. You are not defined by your difficult child's choices, nor by your sister's opinions.

    I am not clear on what happened with the trip. Your sister invited you, then later planned the trip without you? This says way more about her than it does about you.

    Some families have a hard time accepting difficult children because they don't have any point of reference. It's not that they don't care, it's not that they have the answers ... it's just that they don't speak the language on this strange planet we call home.

    I'm sorry that you're going through this. Detachment is, indeed, painful. Take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself.
  13. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2


    I know it is somewhat confusing about the trip. About eight months ago, my sister said she badly wanted to take a flight to Orlando and drive to the gulf coast for a few days. She asked me if I wanted to go with her and a couple of her friends. Her husband has no interest in taking a trip to FL, so it was going to be a girls only trip. Her friends could not go. Later my son came to town with all his issues. My sister disagreed with me about his situation. There were a couple of times that we were not speaking. Last week she called me telling me that she and her only daughter were going to the Gulf Coast for a few days. I said that I thought I was supposed to be going, also. She said that she did not think of me when she planned the trip. She said there were times recently when we were not speaking. She apologized through e-mail and said she made a mistake by not including me. She was leaving in a few days and I could go, if I wanted to. But, since the trip was presented to me at the last minute, I did not have the available funds. I told her that an apology done through e-mail was insincere. She has not spoken to me since.

    One of the things I learned through this ordeal is to never apologize for something serious through e-mail.

    Before the disagreement about the trip, I told my sister that our 85-year old mother was quickly becoming more frail. I did not tell her about the problems with my sister. I found out today that my sister told her everything. I think it was a selfish thing to do. My mother says she is strong enough to handle problems, but I have lost even more respect for my sister.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  14. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    I have shared my story with some people lately. Nearly everyone I talk to about my son's situation has a similar story in their family.

    My mother said that I should give my son a letter explaining why we have detached. I wrote that I loved him too much to watch him self-destruct. I handed him the letter and he tore it up without reading it. My mother called him on the phone and told him the same thing.

    He has always been close with his grandmother. She and my father spent much time with him while he was growing up. He told her that he is drinking an occasional beer, and he and his girlfriend are smoking cigars in the garage. Of course, he is really drinking many, many beers and smoking spice and marijuana.

    My mother made me feel bad about the letter. When my difficult child saw the letter, he acted happy about it. Without thinking clearly, I told him that he would not like the letter, and he tore it up. Now my mother is blaming me that I should not have told him that he would not like the letter. I can't win for losing. I did not get upset with her. She is 85-years-old, and I always give her plenty of slack. I explained to her that even if I mailed a copy of the letter every day for several weeks, he would not read it. Even if he read it, it would not change his behavior.

    Now we are back to no communication. He has to leave my friend's home soon. He and his girlfriend are using drugs in her garage. My friend is very co-dependent and she is dragging her feet about making them leave. She has allowed her 23-year-old healthy niece to move in, also. I told her that she cannot have difficult child and his girlfriend in the home with the niece. I told her that was my advice, of course she has to do what she thinks is right. The niece's mother is very protective and the niece's boyfriend very jealous of other males.

    Although my difficult child is 36, he may has well be 18 years old.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  15. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Since I can not see a profile in your signature, I am not familiar with your story. Based on this post alone & at risk of angering you, you sound very chaotic in your thinking right now. I do not wish to anger you. I wish to help you.

    I think you need to turn all focus to yourself right now. Forget your mother, sister and son for a few weeks. Focus on just you. Get yourself back! You will be no good to any of your family if you stay in this mode of chaos. Sorry! and HUGS!
  16. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    How do I get my profile to show?

    Yes, I am chaotic right now. I am going out of town for a couple of days. That should help. My sister and my mother are much alike in many ways. They are causing more damage than harm right now.

    Thank you for your advice. There will be no more communication with my difficult child, so my husband and I will find peace eventually.
  17. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2

    I think I know how to have profile on signature.
  18. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I think it's under settings. maybe someone more familiar with it will come by soon.

    I'm glad you are getting away for a few days. I have some relatives that don't quite get 'it' either, so I limit my conversations about difficult child with them.

    One of by biggest critics has developed her own difficult child problems and sadly, she is starting to understand. Her son married one and there has been sex for drugs, son lost a great job due to testing positive for drugs, which he says was transferred during sex. A lot of embarrassment when everyone gossips in a small town. There are children involved, and of course in true difficult child style, they are being used as pawns. The funny part is difficult child is enjoying the attention, acts like it has made her a movie star lol!

    The difficult child tries to keep the son from his family and at the moment she is banned from the mother's home. I was talking to my hubby about difficult children yesterday, he was married to one and she didn't like his mother at all, but would never have uttered a nasty word to her. Times were so different then!

    I have other difficult children in the family (I don't think any family is exempt!) and the one thing I see that is a constant in them is they absolutely thrive on the drama, and the ones I know are pretty immature.. They do believe THEY are the victims! I go I the opposite direction - I never could watch the soaps.

    BUT, I have had fun keeping up with Paula Deen's antics in the news lol!!!!

    I hope you are able to relax and enjoy yourself this weekend. We all understand how stressful this can be. As much as I love my son, at 35yo he has had plenty of chances, and I can not continue with our relationship as it is. Once difficult child girlie was added the double difficult child drama and stress became unbearable.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  19. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I think things like this happen in every family, Mechdonna. The difference, as I see it, is in how the family members react to the news. In dysfunctional families, the news that one of the children has fallen, that one of the families in the Family is off balance and in excruciating pain is seen as an opportunity for the other families in the Family to move up. The attitude then will be one of contempt and justified/justifiable separation.

    And even, as the separated part continues to weaken, continues to be vulnerable...isolation.

    There will be isolation of the difficult child family, because the larger Family is too unhealthy to respond in a healing or strengthening way. Being injured, showing vulnerability in a dysfunctional family is like bleeding into shark infested waters.

    Feeding frenzy.

    We have to understand the dynamic behind the dysfunctions in our families to survive it. Even so, it is a hard and hurtful thing.

    If this is happening to you now though? You probably have had to be very, very careful not to show vulnerability all your life, Mechdonna.

    The slyly unspoken questions will be, "You never know, do you. Everything looked so good. Wonder what really happens behind closed doors."

    In healthy families (which mine is not, by the way ~ which is how I know all this stuff) the feeling is more like one of those old westerns. When something threatens any one of the wagons ~ broken wheel, enemy attack, wild animals trailing the wagon train ~ they stop, form a circle with every wagon facing outward for defense. Inside the circle, where it is safe, the problem is identified and dealt with before the entire wagon train, healthy again, moves on.

    Or, imagine the way a herd of buffalo form a circle, each huge set of horns facing outward and all vulnerable members in the center of the circle.

    That is the way a healthy family functions.

    It sounds to me like it is pretty important to your sister that you know how much money she makes per hour. That would be an indication of dysfunction, of one upmanship, right there.

    I'm just sayin'. :O)

    Life has a way of bringing our lessons to all of us, Mechdonna. Your sister's will come. I am sorry this is happening to you, and to me, and to all of us. You must have been the responsible sister, the stable and loving one. Injured, vulnerable now, there are going to be people who take potshots at you, who look down on you now because they can. Truly? Those of us with difficult child children are vulnerable in a way we never dreamed would happen to us in a million years. Unless I am mistaken, most of us have been secretly proud of our parenting skills, before all this happened.

    I certainly was ~ arrogant, really. One of those know-it-all moms. :O(


    That certainly has changed.

    I'm sorry for the sting of it?

    But these people truly are so little in the scheme of things. A decent person, a true sister, would have responded differently. I'm sure other things have happened, too, with this sister that didn't sit just right. My sister celebrates what has happened to my children, because it makes hers look better.

    Well, one of them, anyway. :O)

    I concluded that I will do the decent things, the right things as I see them, where my extended family is concerned. Once you see the dysfunction there, Mechdonna? You might still feel hurt? But you will feel more compassion and frustration that the family dynamic is so pointlessly cruel than you will shame or anger at everything you needed from your extended family and didn't get ~ or even worse, at the nasty, cutting emotional reality you did get.


    P.S. I would love to spend beach time in Florida with you, Mechdonna. Imagine a trip where the parents here come together and teach and learn and heal and grow from spending face to face time together. Now, THAT would be a trip to mourn losing. I think your sister is laughing up her sleeve at your misfortune. But here's the thing: What kind of person DOES that?!?
  20. Mechdonna2

    Mechdonna2 Mechdonna2


    Thank you so much for your posting. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry you have one sister who would rejoice in your pain. It is hard to believe.

    I will see my sister today, but I will have a wall up. My mother is a peacemaker, and she invited me to join them for lunch.

    I don't know what is going on with my sister. I don't know why she thought I was wrong for these 20 plus years. I knew that my son was an alcoholic and she told me I was wrong. She does admit that he needs a psychiatrist. In my mind, a psychiatrist is of no use while he refuses to stop using.

    She may be reacting out of fear. She is married to an alcoholic and her children may be at risk. She has four that range from Sophomore in college to fourth grade. All of her children have been very active in soccer. She and her husband push themselves to the point of exhaustion quite often. I have never done that. I enjoy peace and try to be healthy.

    You are so right that most of us once were proud of our parenting skills. Most of the time I centered my life around my one child.

    Thanks again for your comforting thoughts. Yes, I can see us on the beach at the Gulf Coast. I just spent time with my one of my three brothers. We understand each other and are very close. We spent some time at a beach in NC.