Just venting

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I can't get my two difficult adult children out of my head - it's an endless loop of anxiety. After my DS (34) son's blowout, neither of them has contact with me, but their mail keeps showing up. It all looks like court stuff, driver infractions, CASA. I fret over what to do, not wanting to compound their problems by returning to sender. Who am I kidding? They could care less about me. The trouble is all I can think of is how angry they will be at me - still.

    Even if there is no physical and verbal contact, I still live in fear, obligation, and guilt. I am mad at myself, but that's pointless. I wish I were the type of person to get angry instead of scared and sad. I work so hard at being healthy - 12 step, counseling, reading, writing, etc., but old trauma still has a lock on me. I perseverate about my difficult children suffering rather than about their awful behavior towards me.

    I just retired, and today my husband found out that he may not have a job after three months. Sigh.
    But I am determined to get to chapter 5.

    Autobiography in 5 Chapters by Portia Nelson
    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
    I fall in. I am lost...
    I am hopeless.
    It isn't my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again.
    I can't believe I'm in the same place.
    But it isn't my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there. I still fall in...it's a habit
    My eyes are open; I know where I am;
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.

    I walk down another street.
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  2. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hugs Acacia,

    Love what you shared. Thank you.

    You are on your way to Chapter 5. One day, one decision at a time.

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  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't want their mail coming for two reasons.

    1. If they decide to get nasty, they can claim that they live in your house and try to prove it by showing that the mail goes there. As soon as we moved Kay into the house that we stupidly bought her, we made sure she filled out a form at the post office sending her mail to her new address. Now I know you can't get your kids to do that but I would return the mail to sender for your own sake. You matter. Your kids can get P.O. boxes. They are not your responsibility anymore. That you are afraid of them shows a form of PTSD maybe. From your own kids! How dare they! Trust me, I think I had PTSD as well. The phone rang and I had a panic attack before I even knew who was calling.

    2. Secondly, I would not want to know what my disordered kids were in trouble for now. That just causes us to worry. I don't want to know what Kay does. There is nothing I can do about it except worry. I ignore social media.

    I am the kind of person who got sad more than angry or scared. That caused depression and I needed an antidepressant. I won't let Kay put me there again. She is an adult. And I can not mother her anymore. She never listens. Do any of them? Not that I have read here or heard about in Al Anon.

    I have no doubt that you will get to Chapter 5. And 6, 7 and 8. You are thinking right. You are on the right thinking path. You are strong and smart. God is with you, if you believe.

    I send you prayers and many hugs. You are not alone.
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  4. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thank you for the kind thoughts and support, Busy. What you say is right on.

    I am feeling low today. I do have PTSD from my childhood and also from interactions with my two difficult children at their worst.

    It does the same thing to me.
    I am trying my best. I know I make mistakes, but somehow I feel I shouldn't, so I second guess myself - another 'gift' from my childhood.

    Two friends asked me if I tried to call my daughter for the holidays, implying that might be the right thing to do. My daughter cut me off in a rage two years ago and I've been told she continues to rage at others and talk bad about me, so when I even think of contacting her, my PTSD kicks in. Last night a close alanon friend started lecturing me about how I should not have given my son a Christmas present (the money I gave him towards rent that he got mad about because he wanted it for a driving ticket). So much for not giving advice.

    Even though I am retired, we still have one lovely son in college, so with my husband's job in jeopardy, it is the icing on the cake.

    I feel bad enough already, so these things set me off. I am sure I am too thin-skinned, but I am just being honest about hurting right now.
    I am grateful to have this forum to express myself honestly.
  5. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Acacia, sending you hugs. Thank you for your honesty. I think it’s important to own how we feel and not to pretend that we don’t hurt. Know that you are not alone. I have many low days and find this time of the year particularly hard. Venting here helps and I’m glad we have this safe space to express ourselves.
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  6. RN0441

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

    I also love what you shared by Portia.

    It just shows us that it takes many times of doing the wrong thing to unlearn bad behaviors.

    I too have PTSD from my son's addiction. He is home now and much better but every time he isn't "perfect" I lose it and stress. Am having stomach issues right now. Why? He filled out his FASFA for the wrong year - we found this out after no response from his school. He finally called the school today and found this out. School starts January 6. We are making him get his own loans. This has stressed me out to the max! He doesn't like me reminding him of what to do but I cannot stop myself. He is 24 but behind emotionally due to years of pill abuse.

    I just want it to be over and him to be on his own. It is so slow to happen.

    We all just do the best we can.
  7. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Acacia, you are not alone. I think I am doing better at emotional detachment, and I am, but I still have days or periods that I am not. I get a better hold on reality when I can identify the facts.

    Did you give the courts, etc. Your address?

    Is it reasonable that you should be responsible for making sure your boys/adult men get their mail?

    Is it your responsibility to notify the courts of their address change?

    The boundaries have to be yours, what you choose. I hope you can get beyond the guilt. Emotional decisions are not good decisions.

    I say prayers or meditate on letting go of the guilt and fear. I know in the end, I have to let go of things I can't change or dod not cause.

    Comforting thoughts as you work through this.
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  8. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    If there has been recent contact, I tense when I get a text alert and literally dont want to look at who is calling if my phone rings. I hate that anyone has to know these gerlings.
  9. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    You're absolutely right, and many of my decisions are guided by fear.

    It is not my responsibility. When I break out of denial, I know that I am still trying to protect them from the consequences of their actions. Thank you for helping look at this behavior on my part.
  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I have read that the opposite of love is not hate but fear because even hate is caused by fear. This is how it was explained.

    Love and fear can not co exist. Try to feel love and fear at the same time.

    You can't.

    Some emotions are consistent. If you are feeling great love you may also be feeling joy, happiness, warmth and kindness. But you can't simultaneously feel fear at the same exact time that love surges through your body. They are opposites.

    With fear you can also simultaneously feel gloom, anger (fear and anger commonly co exist), depression, and hopelessness. But you can't feel true pure love and fear together.

    I remember this. It helps me with Kay. When I feel love for her I am not angry at the same time. I can switch gears to anger but then the feeling of love is eradicated.

    To me this resonates and it means that a decision made from fear is not acting out of love. So to me I don't think anything is a loving gesture if done out of fear.

    I don't know if this resonates with others. I shared it on the chance that it may help somebody else. On a personal level, nothing I ever did out of fear ever proved helpful to anybody else or myself.

    Blessings to all.
  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    Acasia what you said about the mail resonates with me. I would hold on to it and wait till i saw him or had a place i could drop it off. Then one day he told me he doesn't even read it.so much for being responsible. I still have a stack but don't really care if he gets it. We should both get rid of it. I promise you if you promise me. I understand the feeling of fear which is exactly what they want us to feel to keep us under their control. I struggle like you everyday. I try to get stronger every day. Some days are better than others. You worked for your retirement and are entitled to enjoy it. Ask yourself would my kids do this for me would they worry for me. The answer is probably no because they are narcissists. Is your husband in a position to claim retirement if he gets layed off? Look at the numbers it might be better than you think. Prayers
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh dear lady, you will not be compounding their problems. I used to feel the same way with my son when mail would show up from collection agencies. One of the most liberating things I did for myself and my son was to take his mail and write on it "no one at this address by this name - return to sender" Yes, at first it did feel like a betrayal but then I thought "betrayal - I'm the one who has been betrayed"
    It's little steps like returning their mail that can help us to really start detaching. Returning their mail is like walking around the hole and going down a different street. By the way, I love what you shared by Portia Nelson!
  13. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    I love the Poem/story by Portia Nelson. We all know it and live it daily but it creates a great visual to help us really see our circumstances for what the are and deal with them differently.
    Don’t beat yourself up that you gave your son that rent money. You did what you felt you had to do. We all slip backwards from time to time but it’s important we keep moving forward. Keep taking baby steps in the right direction. We’ve been at this enabling thing for quite sometime and I feel it’s often times our addiction. To please and find approval and we think our adult children will love us more when we succumb to their financial requests.
    I realized if I gave every last dime to them for their approval and hopes they’d see me as a good mother was ridiculous. It only appeases my discomfort but the problem will remain until they make changes in their lives. So I continue to work through that discomfort trying to do the best I can with God’s guidance and continually turning my sons over to His care.
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  14. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    No, my difficult kids would not, have not, done anything for me at all. They, because of their dysfunction, drain energy. A wise person said, "Imagine you have a spiritual bank account. Do the people in your life drain energy from your account? How do you want to spend your spiritual dollars?" It appears I often squander mine.

    I have been loyal to my own detriment, even in the face of their utter disregard for me. Also, when I keep trying to care for and please them despite their unkind behavior, I am betraying myself and my own values - not a good thing.

    Yes, it has never worked, except momentarily. I am working to sit with the discomfort. In twelve step, they call it stinking thinking, torturing myself as I picture both of my older adult (in body only) children suffering and on the verge of homelessness again. I know for sure that my emotional suffering over my children's choices has never done anything but increase my own.
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Acacia you have received some awesome words of wisdom. I too, receive mail for my waywards, even an ex boyfriend who is homeless! I write return to sender and pop it back in the mailbox. One huge reason being is that a neighbor down the road was attempting to oust her sons girlfriend, when police came, the girlfriend produced mail with the address and there was nothing to be done except go through an eviction process. No bueno! One thing you can ask yourself is “Do they even bother to retrieve their mail?” Mine don’t.
    You have suffered enough to blame yourself for your own feelings. We all need to feel what we feel to process the insanity of our adult kids choices. They are already pointing fingers at us for their issues, we don’t need to be on their team.
    The holidays magnify our loss. That Norman Rockwell dinner. Each and every one of us has our own perspective and way of dealing with grieving the choices of our living adult children.
    I see that you are working hard at filling your toolbox with positive ways to process all that you endure. That is a good thing Acacia. Keep keeping on and take one day at a time.
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  16. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thank you, Leafy.

    I appreciate the important tip about the trouble that can ensue by letting others use my address.

    Yes, the holidays and Norman Rockwell images get to us sometimes, don't they.
  17. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I’ve said this before but again it’s for my own self as well. We can chose our thoughts. When you start to feel your mind bring you down that slippery road that will immediately suck you in like a vacuum with all the “thoughts”, replace them immediately with a pleasant thought (be prepared with some even if you have to write them down) and even if you have to fake the happy thoughts when you’re hurting. Fake it till you make it!
    I think for some of us part of our self punishment is to dwell on the sadness, theirs and ours. How is that benefiting them or us?
    I try to think of self-care, self-preservation not selfishness when I take care of my thoughts and actions.
  18. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I reread this and I saw that I did not bring up the biggest reason not to accept mail....that our disordered kids can say they live with us because their mail comes to our home.

    I don't know how valid this is or if I am just being paranoid, but I thought I'd bring it up. I forgot to spell it out in my first post here.

    I love all the wisdom on this forum!!! What a good place to land!
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