Jaded Perspective vs Reality

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dstc_99, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I find myself at times being very jaded. I don't really like it but I also realize it is probably a self protection instinct. Sometimes I come on here just to remind myself that I need to protect myself in a healthy manner from difficult child and even easy child when she is being irritating. Hearing some of the harder answers here helps me to realize that I am doing better with this and while I don't consider it a game I will win I do consider myself a better player. The problem I have is that I tend to start to distrust everything or shut down completely in order to get away from the issue. It is much harder for me to stay in the moment and deal with the situation appropriately.

    On the other hand some times I come here and feel like people are way too jaded. Yes my kid has issues and yes she is a pain in my bumpkis but she isn't a drug addict, homeless, severely mentally ill. Will she turn out that way I don't know but I also dont plan to spend my life expecting the worst or predicting the worst. It is easy to sit on here and make judgement calls. It is easy to think that we know what is going to happen because we have seen it happen so many times before. The problem is that with all the members we have it is hard to keep track of who's kid has done what and other little things that define that child. It's easy to forget the difficult child we are talking about is not our own.

    I have to stop myself at times from replying without taking the difficult child and the parents into account. My gut reaction to my difficult child doing x,y, and z is acceptable for my difficult child but might be totally inappropriate for someone else's difficult child. My jaded side comes out takes over and writes a post that offends and honestly once someone has been offended they tend to turn off a bit or tune out the advice. My advice might be right and their difficult child might fall right into the trap BUT if I can't deliver that advice in a way that is helpful it is wasted. Taking the jaded out of my answers can be difficult and there are times where I don't succeed.

    Anyway I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes the harshest action is not the first course of action. The jaded response is not always the most accurate. Last but not least its best to take and give advice with an open mind. All of which are lessons I have learned and hope to pass on when I can.
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  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I definitely agree that the harshest action is not always the first course of action. I guess to a point we may become jaded because of our experiences. I feel the same as you; the lessons I have learned is my experience in what I have to share and hopefully I can offer advice that is useful but as always each parent knows their child best and needs to take what they can and leave the rest.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, of course not. Our first course of action is usually leniency, getting them help, and hoping for the best. The harshest action is usually when something so intolerable happens or it just adds up and nothing is getting better at an age when our difficult child should no longer be relying on us for all his/her needs and refuses to get a job. Stealing a lot from us and breaking things and assault are other things that make us go to the harshest extreme. Drug abuse and ending up in jail or prison is another...expecting us to rescue them. I think it is often when we don't feel comfortable in our own home or when our adult child absolutely refuses to grow up and is at home, mooching, at age 25. It's time then to give the grown child a shove out the door. And even then if I had a easy child who was working, paying me rent, helping around the house and not expecting my financial support and respecting my house rules, it would be very hard for me to tell that adult child to leave.

    However it seldom works out that way. We certainly wouldn't be here if that were the case.
  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    See I feel like that is a natural progression when first identifying an issue. Figure it out, fix it, and support the fix.

    I think the issue I have seen most is when a parent of a new difficult child or a difficult child they haven't admitted to yet comes here for support and the first answer is the harshest one. I know I have posted things once or twice about my kid doing something low level stupid and the next thing I know I am being advised to remove her from my home. I tend to just skip that response and move along. But I have seen many who take offense or who leave because they need the appropriate level of support and advice for their situation and not my jaded detachment.

    I guess the hard thing is letting someone else go through that natural progression at their own speed. Moving from fix it all mom, to nothing I am doing is working and difficult child is now old enough to start working on this themselves. It seems like it is very hard to know when to draw that line in the sand between supportive and it's time you moved on. For 18 years most of us have been working our butts off to raise well rounded good kids. One minor bad act and somebody gives you the advice to kick the difficult child out. It's like going from A to Z and skipping all the natural progression. The steps of grief I guess you could call them.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That and also the fact, that most of the troubled kids do get over it before they are forty and before their parents are at nursing homes. All the statistic indicate that most young people with even serious issues get back to their feet in some way. If you have a forty year old still going that same old merry-go-round it is likely it didn't happen to you, but if you have a 19-year-old in trouble, it still is likely to happen to you.

    Most drug users and alcoholics recover in 15 year time. Most people who end up in prison don't end up there again or only once or twice and are out of criminal life style in twenty years (of course I know stats better from my neck of woods, almost two thirds of prisoners (and you have to do something rather terrible to end up in prison around here, just think that if you stab your spouse or buddy to death in rage you are likely to have 7 to 9 year sentence and sit half of it and second degree rape doesn't get you to prison most of the time and any thieving short of robbing a bank gets you there, so you understand that people in our prisons have certainly done some hard core crimes) do not continue their criminal behaviour after they get out. I know in USA the recidivism is higher, but almost half of your offenders don't go back either. Most people with mental illness get better, even most people with personality disorder mellow some with age (and most with Borderline (BPD) don't meet the criteria after ten years of the diagnose.) Most kids with conduct disorder recover and don't develop personality disorders.

    When you have a troubled 19-year-old, it doesn't mean you will also have a troubled 40-year-old 21 years later. You might, but most of the time you will not.
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  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good post, dstc, Often we read about a situation, relate it to our own, and immediately jump to conclusions or give advice based on our own experience – which is natural, really. We want to help, and sometimes the nerve that a story touches is still pretty raw. I think it’s important to remember, however, that each parent’s experience is unique, as is each difficult child. Just because a parent’s description sounds like the diagnosis or issue our own difficult child has, doesn’t mean it is the same. Just because a decision we made led to a certain outcome with our difficult child, doesn’t mean someone else needs to take that same path (or not take that same path). I think the best thing we can do is simply share experiences, share what worked for us, and lend support without judging or dictating what action another parent should take. It’s a fine line sometimes, especially when so many come here asking for advice.

    I fully admit to being jaded, and it’s why I don’t often jump in – I got to my “detachment” place after a very long battle and under a lot of unique and complicated circumstances with my difficult children. My decisions and boundaries are not for everyone, but they worked (and work) for me.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    dstc, you are right. Yet these people are coming to us for help and our opinion and advice. What they are doing isn't working. If you ask for advice, I will give you what I feel will work the best. Actually, if they ask a counselor or psychologist or psychiatrist, they will get the same answer. That's where I first heard that I could take care of myself and did not deserve to be abused, even by my husband, even though he was sick and thought he was going to die. I had to hear it first to mull over this new idea and decide if I accepted it. Now I realize there is never an excuse for abuse and I will not tolerate it, but I had to hear it the first time to even realize I had a choice to set boundaries and decide that I did not want to be treated poorly even by somebody I loved who was ill. (He is still alive by the way).

    Just because we give advice doesn't mean anyone has to listen to it. We give it...what they do with it...that is their decision. Some people will forever live to take care of an adult child, even if the parent is 90 and the "child" is 70. They suffer elder abuse by another elder! Would we tell a woman who is being abused, swindled, lied to, cheated on etc. by her husband who she loved to stay in the marriage anyway, even though many, many women do stay with belittling, physically and verbally abusive men?Even though she loves him would we tell her to keep on living with him? After all, nobody is all bad. He has a good side. He is the father of their children? too, although the children are obviously scared of him. Would we tell this woman who came to us for advice that the best thing to do is to put up with it because she loves him? Would we maybe tell her to make him leave, get joint counseling before even considering letting him back in with him, or else leave him for her own safety and that of her children? Don't our other children deserve to be safe from a wild and crazy difficult child? I don't see it as being that different. Abuse is abuse.

    It's not all that different. Most of our adult children are abusive towards us in various ways. We give the best advice we know...don't allow yourself to be abused. It is relatively new that anyone ever spoke of abusive children. It was always the parents who did the abusing that got all the attention. But there is a big problem now (maybe always) where adult children abuse their parents. They are younger and stronger and often fearless and dangerous. It is starting to become an issue in the news...it has started with elder abuse by children. These grown children who partake in elder abuse of their parents were probably not prize packages even before their parents became so sick that there was concern about the abuse. Most likely these "kids" have always been difficult children in a major way.
    We all know that it happens even when the parent is not elderly too. Do we take it or not take it? Like the abused wife, it is up to us to decide.

    We give th e best advice we know of...nobody has to listen.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  8. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I agree MWM that we give the best advice we can....and that nobody has to listen. I guess I just think that sometimes it is healthy for us to remember these people are fragile, we don't know the whole story and never will, and that these people are just feeling there way into getting support. We don't have to get them through all the AA steps on meeting one. My point is that very few people make changes immediately. If that were the case battered wives would leave the first time (or prior to) they were abused. They go to a doctor and that doctor tells them to leave and they just can't make themselves do it. It takes time and growth and support for them to get there. Even thought the abuse is severe and life threatening they still let it continue.

    In our case most of our difficult child's start out much smaller. Verbal abuse, threatening, school failures, small time drug use. All of those things are bad but no where near as bad as getting beaten. If it takes a battered wife years to detach and leave. I can understand why it might take the parent of a difficult child a while to start making changes and detach if needed. Of course the difficult child's often ramp up their actions and that makes it easier and easier to make the changes.

    I get what you are saying MWM. I really do. But scaring people doesnt encourage them to come back for support. (No I am not saying you scare people. I think we all do at some point when we have a harsh reaction to their situation.) Helping them feel their way into the situation and giving them some valuable steps to get there seems like a much better idea. In fact its almost like we need a twelve step program for dealing with difficult child's. Things we can do to learn, mend, grow, and then progress into life with tools for the future?
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I get what you're saying too. I first heard about not putting up with abuse in a group therapy session for women. I was telling them my story and they started telling me I was being abused and not to put up with it. I was maybe 30 and very immature, and I was absolutely horrified that they were telling me not to put up with the rotten things my sickly husband said to me. I remembered sputtering, "B-b-but he's SICK!" I mean, if somebody is sick, they can be mean.That was how I thought. To my shock and chagrin, one of the women said, "I don't care if he's dying tomorrow. There is no reason for him to abuse you and demean you and withhold money from you. There is no excuse for abuse. Ever." I looked around the room and the other women were nodding t heir agreement and so were the two psychologists in charge of the woman's meeting, a male and woman psychologist.

    "I can't. YOu don't get it. He's sick. He had eight hour surgery! They took out two huge tumors and he has his thyroid removed in another surgery..." They didn't care.

    I left in tears and never went back.

    But the idea of no excuse for abuse was set in the back of my mind and I thought about it a lot when Hub #1 was calling me stupid, or useless or "you don't have any common sense" or when I tried so hard to clean and cook up to his standards he said, " Your attempt at organization is turning into worse disorganization" (add a mean laugh)...I would remember those women telling me not to put up with it. I let it sink in for a few yearws. Nothing changed. He demeaned me constantly and if I cried he laughed at me. He handled the money. I even was handing him MY paycheck or he'd gaslight me with "We'll go bankrupt." We never came close to going bankrupt. Although I wasn't allowed to know how much he made, he made a good living, although you'd never know it. I didn't know it until during the divorce.

    My ex hated Codependents Anonymous once I decided to go. It started to sink in that I lived my life only to please other people, even when they were being unreasonable. I was beginning to believe that everything this man said about me wasn't gospel. In fact, most of it was hogwash.

    But if I hadn't had that first kick of Tough Love, I probably would have remained everyone's doormat forever and certainly my life would have been horrible. So if somebody is at first shocked by the idea of detaching from a beloved child who is abusive, a thief in the home or something else even if they go away they may start to think about how they are allowing themselves to be abused and why they are.

    I have learned to be very true to myself. I am not going to say something I don't believe just to softpeddle something. If you are in danger from your kid, I'm going to say it because I care about the welfare of the person who is writing about it. Chances are, by the time they have made it to this site they are pretty desperate. If they report serious illegal activity in their house, they are in danger...

    At any rate, all we can do is do what we feel is right. I'm not angry at those women who made me see I was being abused. I really didn't know it. In my famly of origin my mother talked to my father the way my ex talked to me all the time. I thought "That is how marriage is." I needed the wake up call. I ended up divorcing this man. I'm not sorry. I married a very different and better (for me) kind of man and had a great family with him raising Sonic and Jumper.

    Nobody has to stay here. If they are not ready to hear the message many of us send, then they can leave. I"m sure many have, just like I left the therapy sessions forever.
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  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Problem is, that people really are leaving. This is a pale shadow of a place it used to be even quite recently. General Parenting is all but dead, there are only couple messages from this years at Special Education, Watercooler is slowly dying, Substance abuse is bit slow but still functional, Parent Emeritus is busy, but you really need to hold your tongue and sign for specific, spiritual philosophy if you don't want to end up admonished. For me it feels more like a revisionist meeting, and quite fundamentalist and legalistic one of those, rather than a soft place to land for battle weary parents.

    I was looking through my private messages one day and noticed that maybe 80-90 % of people I have had conversations are now gone. It is of course nature of the beast, people in boards like these come and go and we have also gained many new wonderful members during the last year or year and half, but during that time we have also lost many great long term contributors, like almost all I used to have private conversations with. Many of them had been here years and wrote thousands of messages, but then all the sudden they one by one just quitted. Some stop by seldomly in special topics, but that is it.

    This used to be much more worldly and pragmatic, down to earth type of place and supportive for people in their struggles and their choices. And even with some levity and fun mixed to it. Now it feels all doom and gloom and striving to be the better believer of some spiritual agenda than person next to you.
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suzir, a lot of long term members have left because they have moved to the point where their lives are not in constant crisis anymore. As you pointed out, many difficult child's do mature and eventually lead less chaotic lives and their parents move on, too.

    Several long time members who had not posted in a while posted recently and said that their kids were doing better and they had less reasons to post now. I think that is a very positive thing.

    I also have to say that I don't agree with you about the PE forum. I think that they moderators and posters are wonderfully supportive and understanding.

  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is very positive. And as I said, it is a natured of boards like these. But quite a many of the posters whose disappearance I was referring to have younger kids, not adult in some time and many had long standing issues. Of course I hope that they too are having better patch right now and not feeling the need to post.

    But it really is a shame that General Parenting etc. are so very slow nowadays.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I must admit to being one who got kind of offended a time or two. However, I have realized that I have to remember also that some of the people giving advice have lived through much worse situations than I have with my son. Some have no significant other standing by them helping. Some have had children hospitalized or in jail. Some have had their life savings stolen. Some have lived in fear of their lives from their children.

    New people need to be reminded, I think, that the people giving advice may be coming from a point of, "Oh that's where it starts and if they don't take harsh action NOW they'll be in my shoes." Maybe that's true. But maybe the fact that they are taking any action now will stop it from ever going there.
  14. hhi

    hhi New Member

    I registered here quite a while ago and just came by to say hi. http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/offering-hope-information-ideas-very-long.59001/

    It is you -- all of you -- who held me together. Raising a difficult child is a process, and it does indeed take a village. And this place was a big part of my village.

    Two generations ago, in the rural parts of the US, every little town or cluster of homes would have the one wise old woman who was the guide to the rest. She was the midwife, the tutor, the expert on herbs, the advice giver. Now, we don't have that kind of village structure any more.

    But here, in this place, she exists again. In all of you. Your collective love, support, advice, perspective, objectivity, counsel, wisdom, humor, and undeniable connection, are what that wise old woman was to my grandmother's generation.

    So, dear ones, you have played a significant part in the lives of many. Helping them hold it together when they were falling apart.

    So thank you. All of you. It's a village thing.
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  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think this forum will be around for a long time. I have been here for so long. It has had it's busy times and quiet times. However if it is meant to no longer exist one day, then it won't. It is what it is.

    I do know that many new forums are popping up that are differently formatted from this one. That are almost blog-like. I read a few of them.

    I think that PE is great and we do have tons of readers. I have checked all over the internet and have not found as busy or helpful a format for very disturbed young and adult children as this forum, at least not to me.

    As far as I can remember though posters came and left, often after a few posts.But if it disappears one day, it was supposed to do so.

    Whatever will be, will be.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In defending the forum, I felt the need to make one more vague reason why sometimes people come and go. Some of us become more personal with one another therefore no longer have to talk to the whole. I do know some people, not whom I see, but whom I can talk with in my own way without posting here. And I am sure others have actually met in real life and maybe formed a support system that way too. No specifics, but this happens on any forum. I am not saying this is happening, just that it could.

    I still choose to post here...if I can help one person, well, so many have helped me.

    I am not the only one who has connected to others with others who are here or who have come here and that changes things for some people.

    This is a good place to be, in my opinion.
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  17. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Well, this is an interesting thread. Since my difficult child has taken himself to the other side of the world (I am in Israel, he is in Australia, already three years), my life has taken on a completely different course, and although I'm not quite there yet (post-trauma?), our daily life is more or less calm. However, although I don't feel qualified to jump in with advice -- except for encopresis matters -- a day doesn't go by without my coming here to the board. I see that people come and go, but I also see how there are many old-timers who are still here and are still offering the most wonderful advice and support. Everything changes with time, so does this board, but it is sort of elastic, changing shape all the time as different people come and go, but the bottom line is: it is the most wonderful, non-judgmental, supportive forum. When someone writes in a time of crisis, the support is overwhelming. Don't worry about this place. It is serving such a great purpose in the most positive way. I cannot imagine how I would have got through about ten years of my life withou the support of my friends and "family" here. The moderators are doing a great job -- many thanks to you all.

    Love, Esther
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  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, when your son became ill you got tons of support here. Esther made a good point. Maybe we don't always hear what we want to hear, but we always get support. Obviously, if we come here, there is something we feel is offered us.
  19. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    My child made self destructive choices. I was not a bad parent.

    This community offered me that hope at a time when everyone one I knew away from here blamed me.
  20. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes I did and I'm grateful for that. But I know this board and know how to protect myself around here. Where to draw boundaries and so on. Newcomers do not have that advantage.