Learning how to live with guilt

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Fancy, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Fancy

    Fancy Blamed for everything

    I've been struggling lately with the decisions that I made regarding my daughter. I find that I'm dealing with a lot of guilt, and feeling like I'm a terrible parent, while my logical brain is telling me that I'm right. I wonder if anyone has any helpful hints on how to let go of the guilt when you have to make the hard decisions that go against your heart?
  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi Fancy, welcome to the board. I'm sorry I missed your post and am replying rather late.

    I think that everyone on this board, certainly those with older children on this forum and the Parent Emeritus forum, can relate to the conflicting feelings you describe - of having to make hard decisions that you don't want to make, and still feeling guilt.

    Can you tell us something more about your situation, about your daughter, about the decisions you've had to make? You'll find that people here are sympathetic and empathetic. We are walking the same path. We are all learning to accept the things we cannot change, gather our courage to change the things we can (that are our responsibility to change), and finding wisdom to know the difference.

    I hope you will share with us; you will find lots of support and encouragement here.
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Hello and Welcome. I am so sorry that you are feeling the guilt for the choices your daughter made. I think that getting over the guilt is a process. Around here, we call it detachment. It allows you to see that your child's choices are theirs. You are allowed to choose what you will and will not allow in your life. Your daughter is afforded those same choices. You can not make them for her. I'm not sure what she's done, but I am guessing that alcohol an/or drugs are probably involved. Detachment is the key. It allows you to continue to love your child but not condone the bad choices they make. You love them without enabling them. You don't try to fix the problems. You allow them to face their own consequences. You know that you have done the best you can and that is all that you can do. Good luck on your quest.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Guilt can be a killer.
    Can you tell us more? Why are you guilty?
  5. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Dont have guilt. We are only humans. We are trying to do the best we can. Sometime humans make errors. It can not be prevented.

    For a long time we struggled at our home because my wife was ill and felt guilt due to her illness. Regardless of how many times I tried to tell her that she was the best mother in the world, she didn't believe me.

    So she purchased a lot of gift for the kids when they were smaller and it didn't take long before receiving a gift was a everyday thing for them. Guess what happened when she for some reason was unable to purchase anything? You guessed right - a lot of crying and anger.

    So look in the mirror. There you will see the best mother your children can get. Tell this person that you are doing great and believe it.

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. Over the years there have been alot of teen parents who have made difficult decisions regarding placements for major behavior and/or substance abuse issues. Although I agree with what others have posted to you (including that it is difficult to offer support when we don't know what type of decision you are feeling guilty about) sometimes it is a good thing to rethink choices. Please note I emphasized sometimes.

    There have been occasions when a rash choice has been made by loving parents. There have been occasions when a placement that was suppose to be great...turns out to have been a mistake. (the lst residential one I chose based on very very solid recommendations by multiple experts turned out to have "changed hands" and was not good for easy child/difficult child).

    So I suggest you share with us. Believe me you can do so without using names, cities, or any identifiers. Also believe me that many of us have found this group in the CD family the only place where we feel free to really express our fears etc. We do not always agree with one another but over the years there have been fewer than a handful of participants who were less than sincere in trying to help. Sending a hug. DDD
  7. tracyf551

    tracyf551 New Member

    OMG, i can see some of myself in your post! For the longest time i felt guilty for the things that were happening to difficult child. Did I go wrong somewhere?, Could I have done more to stop him on the path he was on?, etc. It took me 6 years,doctors, counselors, police, court hearings, 2 placements, being kicked out of school, stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, threats, fights, comments wishing I was dead and F everyone, I hate you-to make me see, I could no longer help him.
    I understand how you feel. You think you have failed somewhere along the line. YOU HAVEN'T!!! difficult child'S choose to be the way they are, most of the time. Some have illnesses that keep them from being the the child you have always dreamed of. But some just down right don't care. Don't beat yourself up. Most important don't do what I did. i let myself go, i let the rest of my family down by concentrating only on getting difficult child "better".
    Could you provide alittle more info on your situation? That will help us understand what you need.
    Keep your head up.
  8. compassion

    compassion Member

    I have made much progress in this. Today it is not as much guilt as painful but I am determned to take care of me and my easy child son and husband. Tracy, in myour sig yu said difficult child runs all night, sleeps all day. My difficult child daugter is doing that at this moment and I am powerless to stop it. She is 15, it is 12;17 am, CURFEW IS 10 PM. She hung up on me when I called a bit ago.
    Today, I feel good about my choices, sad very sad for the self-desttructive hcices she continues to make. I communicate but am living my life postively, I have health, etc. today. Comapssion
  9. Fancy

    Fancy Blamed for everything

    I want to thank everyone for their support, it helps to know that I'm not alone in these situations. Here is some history:
    I was a single mother raising 2 daughters, divorced because of my husbands drug issues etc...he had no contact with the girls while they were growing up. My youngest became lazier and lazier as she got older, skipping school, smoking pot, and developed this attitude that everone should bow at her feet simply because she existed. Her sister was very responsible and hard working, causing her to become impatient with the youngest's behaviour. Eventually the youngest began using Cocaine as well. Upon giving her an ultimatum to either change her behaviour or move out, I was forced to ask her to move out. Since then, her behavious has worsened, she's moved across the country to stay with family, which didn't work out and they asked her to move out as well.
    Now, I don't know where she's staying, I hear from her only sporadically, and I feel guilty that I won't allow her to come home, guilty that as her mother I should be able to 'fix' things for her, and very guilty at how angry I am at her. I understand logically that the choice has to be hers, however my logical brain is fighting against my mother's instincts to just hug her until the hurt stops.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    How about I send YOU a hug? I do understand how you feel... I have two stepchildren right now and it is all I can do sometimes not to get angry. When I do anything at all for myself I feel guilty that I am not doing something for them. Unfortunately it's been a real roller coaster since their mother is not paying child support right now and I just can't afford to buy the things they want. Thanks to a lot of past history my husband is currently unemployed, though his small business if finally starting to pick up. I rationally know that it's not my job to pay for everything they need but if I don't, no one will, and I love them even with the laziness, disrespect, and bad treatment! So keep this in mind, since I have learned to: Take care of yourself, first. When you are in a position where you are taken care of, then you can try to help the children. If you're in bad shape, you won't be able to help so much. And it is so easy to say don't feel guilty but it's really hard to do. Good luck. Also maybe there is a counselor you could see (for yourself) every few weeks just to talk out the issues? It's helped me a lot. I don't have a psychologist, just an LPC.
  11. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    Here's my guess. You didn't tolerate Ex-H drug use - and you ended up raising your daughters alone - providing them with reasonable household rules and boundaries for the safety and care of everyone. You've found a forum of parents who have children who believe (much like your youngest daughter) that rules and boundaries are fluid. Ebbing and flowing with the daily tide.

    So your daughter, who didn't respect the rules and boundaries, questioned your authority to #1 - Make them (I mean, really, who ARE you? ..says difficult child)
    #2 - Enforce them (Just try and make me....says difficult child)
    #3 - Give the consequences (Oh please, just one more chance, I PROMISE!...says difficult child)

    Anything sound familiar? difficult child's are great at throwing guilt at parents. Whining, crying, begging, pleading, promising, "you would if you loved me" phrases....

    We love our children, and we want the best for them. We hurt when they hurt, and it is in our nature to eradicate threats to our children. In my case, my difficult child's biggest threat to her safety and security is herself. It's hard to eradicate your own child.

    Detaching takes some time, some practice, some tears, some more tears, venting to friends, some prayer.... It isn't easy.

    You're among friends here...come cry, vent, shed some tears.
  12. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Fancy:Hello. One sage thought that passed my radar that I feel helps me is that when we demonstrate taking care of ourselves and our boundaries we give permission to others to take care of their own boundaries.
    I do not know what you have been through that you now feel that you may have done differently. Maybe you did things that honestly you regret...we all do at least something. Or maybe when the dust has settled and your were not operating in the fog around crazymaking druggie behavior it dawned on you that well now that I have had a good sleep and heard the birds chirping in the morning again why by gosh and golly I could have....
    One day, maybe not yet, you will have the very clear plan that fits the family situation that will be good for your loved one and you...and then you can set and maintain boundaries and even then if it works out or not is not on you.
    Some bad feelings I have take time...it is like my sub conscience mind is allowing the bad feeling to have its course and drag out the deep underlining thing that I need to look at accept and maybe never carry around again.
    Sometimes that bad feeling is a good time to look back and remember how I got where I am.
    When there is guilt sometimes the dream that died a little or a big was what I really wanted and intended to create. And I am someone that I never intended.
    For me I have not had the drug use of one of my children thing. What I have had to do was just not what I invisioned was the way I wanted to go. Yet when it came down to it I did. I was right and it worked out. After a very trying interlude.
    Guilt is a candle that may light the way to somewhere....and then it will burn out and be what it is. Were you a terrible parent? Or maybe just one of us human type parents?
  13. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Hi Fancy, just checking in on you to see how you are coping. I've been absent awhile while my son was in a diagnostic residential program in Pennsylvania.

    I can totally relate to the guilt feelings, as I have had fingers pointed at me by my ex and therapists that I have dropped the ball many times with my kids by not being consistent enough. It is an awful feeling to know that you have not only not helped your kid, but possibly made things worse because you failed to give them the rules and boundaries they need.

    It sounds like you have done a much better job than me as far as setting limits (not tolerating your ex's drug problems) and also showing your kids how a strong woman does it when she's parenting alone. I hope reading the posts from other parents here has made you feel better about yourself.

    I think you need to remind yourself that you are doing the best you know how. It's impossible to cover all the bases, if we could, we'd be perfect, and no one is. You do the best you can. Sounds like you have.