Is it easier with multiple children?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LauraH, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I'm now faced with the fact that my son is probably a lost cause. I'm never giving up on hoping, but that hope is fragile and hanging by a thread. I'm pretty certain we'll never have a meaningful, loving, mutually caring adult relationship and that's a hard possibility to face. As for his bipolar disorder and drug addiction, I can only pray he will eventually get clean for good and learn the coping skills and mechanisms to have a life of some stability.

    What's really hurting is that this is my only child. I will never have another one. It's leaving a hole in my heart that not even my husband can fill. Those of you with other non-troubled children, does having them in your life make it easier to cope with the stress and heartache? Obviously nothing will completely take away your hurt and sorrow and worry, but does it help having other children with whom you have a more "normal" relationship?
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I think it's probably easier, but you do have to try really hard not to get so wrapped up with the troubled child that you ignore the other ones. This is very easy to do.

    Also bipolar and substance abuse are genetic. You can have more than one troubled child.

    I think maybe its time for you to perhaps try therapy and maybe start getting closer to your husband, other family and friends. Church is one good way to meet people. There are many. Your son is not your only relationship. Do you have nieces and nephews? Yes, a child is irreplaceable, but that does not mean you can not have a full life without one.

    God bless you. Take good care of yourself.
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  3. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I think asking that question avoids what might help you the most: acceptance

    The relationship with your son is what it is right now. I would not speculate as to what the future will bring or what it might look like, either , because it causes you more suffering.

    Just try to accept that nothing happens in God's world by mistake and that acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today. Hold your son in affirmative prayer (" thank you for keeping him save, for wrapping him in your love, for getting him the help he needs") and then turn it over. One day at a time .
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  4. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I wondered about that. I've heard of this scenario often. The "bad kid" gets the attention and the "good kid" feels ignored and unappreciated. I've also heard of families where all the kids had issues of varying sorts and degrees.

    I do have a good life with my husband. My nuclear family is not exactly dysfunctional but I'm not close to my sister or brother, largely because of the huge age gap between us, same with their children. It's not so much that I'm empty without my son in my life, far from it. But I feel as if he's lost to me and all the husbands, relatives, friends in the world can't fill that void of a lost son or daughter, at least not completely. It's just something I have to accept as my current normal, but trust me, missing my "lost child" isn't keeping me from living the best life I can. But just like I still have moments where I cry and miss my parents, I will have similar moments concerning my son, especially if my worst fears and concerns come to fruition. And I'm getting signals that it's headed in that direction.
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think you may be writing the end of the story based upon your feelings and fears. And I also think you might be engaging in all or none thinking.

    Let life work itself out. Think about what it would be like to have faith that the right thing will happen. Your son has made some good choices. There's no reason he cannot make more. He might.

    Try to think about what is served in you by going to the darkest, most dire potential future.

    From all you have written here it seems that your son and you and your husband are tightly bound together.

    From my own experience, things seldom proceed in a constantly upward tangent. There are nearly always fits and starts. Are you interested in allowing life to work itself out?

    How are you helping yourself and your son by jumping to the worst possible potential future that can be envisioned?


    There are a number of mothers on this site with only one child. I am one of them. I have said to some mothers with multiple children, that I envied them. I think this was foolish on my part. Every child occupies in us a space that is singularly them. Our hopes for them can't be replaced by another child. I think the pain is the same.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Others have made great points about acceptance. I highly doubt that I will ever have the loving caring mutual relationship with my son that I wish for. This makes me very sad. I do however have a great relationship with mu daughter and yes in some ways I do think this makes the loss with my son easier to bear.

    However my daughter wants nothing to do with my son and they have no relationship. This also makes me sad as they were close when they were young. So I end up with completely separate relationships including holidays. This makes me sad too. I get where my daughter is coming from. She needs to protect herself as my son would screw her over in a minute if doing so would benefit him. So I am respecting her stand on this.
  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I have the same thing with my normal kids. They would see Kay at holidays to not rock the boat, but they have no relationship with her. And she doesn't want to see them either.

    The irony is that Amy will gladly see her ex on the holidays, even if he spent time at our festivities, but she would probably avoid Kay if she showed up. This makes me wish things were different. I did not see these rifts growing up and don't like seeing them now.

    And my so called normal kids can not replace the magic of Kay when she has been wonderful. Kay has the ability to shine like a star and amuse and captivate. She just doesn't do it these days.

    On the other side, it does help to be able to joyfully hang out with my daughter and grands and my wonderful son who works with us. I am grateful I have them. We expected Kay to be our only child and that wasn't to be the case. I am glad to have the others and sadly grateful to have known my child who died. They enrich(ed) my world.

    But the contrast makes me sadder about Kay. Its as if the balance is off. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I accept it, but it is not how I would have hoped things would have turned out. It is a sadness in my heart.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  8. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Laura, this is where I am at the moment too. We have two boys, age 29 and 24, and it does help that we have a good relationship with the younger son, but I have been thinking lately that I wish we had had more kids than just two, just to increase the possibility of more "normal" relationships.
    I think this is true. I do tend to engage in this type of thinking. When she counseled to try to consider what this type of thinking brings to us, it suddenly occurred to me what it brings: Namely, a hope that when the "ax" truly falls, I will not be caught by surprise as much and will be at least somewhat prepared for the worst, if that is possible. I think that is what is behind that "all or nothing" thinking and "writing the end of the story." Just a desire not to be devastated when and if it should happen. Thanks, Copa for your comment; it created a little bit of an epiphany in me just now. Wow.

    This is what I'm trying to do: Hold onto just enough hope to have faith in what God can do, but not so much that I'm emotionally entangled every day. Finding that balance is hard; it tips one way or the other from one day to the next.
  9. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I'm one of those people that gives something over to God and then turns around and takes it back. So last night I gave my son back to him and again this morning. I think I will have to do this from now on, possibly every morning and night for the rest of my life.

    To clarify, the reason I fear for a bad outcome, if not the worst possible outcome, is A, my son's behavior, choices, and outcomes when he lived in Chicago before. And the fact that shortly after texting with the toxic ex he's ready to move back, blowing off holiday plans he's made with his father's aunt and her family and with my family. And B, my son has a lifelong history of 1 inch forward, 5 miles back. It's like he can he can only deal with positive things in his life for so long before he starts sabotaging everything (relationships, jobs, etc) and engaging in self-destructive and negative behaviors. This pattern has repeated itself since he was a kid and by the looks of it continues to do so.

    I'm still wobbling around between many different feelings, sadness over the potential he's wasted over the years because to him if it requires any kind of effort it's not worth pursuing. Indifference (and sometimes acceptance) because this seems to be the life he has chosen for himself and there's nothing I can do to change that. And anger over the money, time, energy, and emotion I have spent on this kid throughout his life, and particularly the last 2 or 3 years as my husband and I were bending over backwards trying to help him help himself make changes that were for naught.

    Well at least one positive in all this, so far...and that is that he has not asked for one dime of help from us since he got out of rehab, except the other day when he borrowed $10 for gas money to get home. Whether he pays that back remains to be seen. I'll hold onto this, that he at least is respecting our boundary of no more financial help. If even this one thing sticks, it's something to be grateful for.
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Ditto here. One day, I hope to have the "why" of it all, but I suspect I won't know that in the here and now. It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under us.
  11. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Hi LauraH, I am so sorry for your heartache. When my son was alive and my daughter went off the rails, I got some sort of comfort knowing I had a good honest kind son. It did not take the heartache and agony away from all the grief my daughter was causing but it was like a little bit of sunshine on my broken heart. I did not realize how much I relied on him and counted on him to be kind and responsible. Now that my son has passed and all I have is my daughter it make her going off the rails a bit more hard. I miss my son's comfort and love, telling me that things are going to be better. I miss him telling my daughter the raw truth and telling her how she is destroying everything with her words and behavior. My son was very grieved with the things his sister did and said. I used to watch my words carefully, my son just told it like it was. For me just having one is harder because I want that one and only to be honest and decent and each time I hear a lie or get snubbed it hurts.
  12. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    I'm sorry for your hurt and sorrow. I have two homeless sons with issues but I just can't give up hope though.

    There's got to be something better at some point. Hang in there.

    Sending prayers.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Laura, I had wondered the same thing when my daughter being her most impossible self. She is my only child; my husband has two sons, and we have no children together. Was it my parenting that was off? I wondered often if I should try to have another child, but my husband was not on board, and now I am glad we didn't. I have a good relationship with MissKT, she is "adulting" well, and I think her being so far away helps,too.