Letter to difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    This is the letter I am giving him today. I feel better having written it. And right now, that is what it is about---me. Echo, you will see parts of your letter here---it was so good and so very helpful to me. Thank you for having shared it.

    June 26, 2014

    Dear ______,

    Well, okay, now you know what's next for you. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks and months and I have realized some things I never realized before.

    You have made a lot of choices and decisions that I haven't understood. It's been hard---beyond hard---for me to accept the life that you have been living, and very painful to watch you live on the street, taking drugs and going back to jail again and again and again.

    But now I realize that you have a right to do whatever you choose. You are the only person who can decide what your life is to be. You are a grown man, not my little boy. Your life is your choice, and that is how it should be.

    I want you to know that I am not going to judge what you do anymore or try to get you to change or do anything different.

    I'm going to write about me now. And so you are out of jail again. I ask myself, what will be different this time? I look for a change of heart in you, and maybe it’s there, somewhere, I don’t know. Just looking for that change, and hoping for that change, and waiting for that change, is something I don’t want to do anymore. I just want to accept that this is the way it’s going to be. The ups and downs of hoping and then reality are too hard.

    It is very draining and very difficult for me to have much contact with you. I love you, and I always want to see you, and yet when I see you or talk to you, I see a reality that is very hard for me to grasp and live with.

    My sadness and my grief is many layers...first and foremost is that you are going to kill yourself with drugs. That is just a fact. Ultimately, I will lose my son, and there is nothing I can do about that.

    The longer you live on the very margins of society, the harder it is to ever incorporate again. You are now used to jail, to being homeless, to lying to yourself and everybody else, to stealing, to living on the edge, no resources, no job, no home. You must believe all of that is okay and you like it, because that is what you keep on doing.

    I cannot listen to your endless claims of looking for a job, going back to school, blaming other people for your choices and your problems, lots of talk and very little action on any of the things that require actually moving forward. It is impossible and so very painful to try to have a real relationship with someone who misleads me and lies to me on so many levels all the time.

    It is crystal clear to me that you will have to have professional help and treatment to get the life you say you want, and that is the one thing you have continued to resist and deny for more than four years now.

    It is too hard, too sad, and it is endlessly heartbreaking to watch.

    You must be happy with your life. That is all I can conclude. And, I am glad that you are happy. At age 25, the way you live your life is a choice you get to make. And so, I am going to work to accept that this is the life you are going to have.

    I have to take care of myself, and I can't afford to be taken down emotionally over and over and over again.

    Through all of this I have learned --- and you have shown me --- that there are many resources---meals, jobs, clothes, phone, computer access, housing---for a person who is living the life that you choose. You are resourceful, and you will get by, like you have been doing.

    All I can offer you is my love and support. That is all I can do.

    I want to stay in touch from time to time but we need give each other a lot of space. I can’t be involved in your everyday life. It’s just too hard for me.

    I love you so very much and I will always wish you the best. That will never change.

  2. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I think that is such a sad and beautiful letter, COM. I would imagine it was so heartbreaking, yet so cleansing, to get it all down.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well done, COM.

    Keep a copy for yourself.

  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A poignant and loving letter COM, thanks for sharing it. I'm saying a prayer for you and your difficult child........hang in there, we're here for you......
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I just took his backpack to the day shelter. I walked into the waiting room and he was over in the corner, slumped over in a chair, sleeping. I woke him up and we went outside. We sat on a bench and talked for a while. That was not my plan but that is what I ended up doing. I told him a lot of the things I had written in the letter, which I had put inside his backpack.

    He is angry with his father and with me, and kept saying "ya'll think this and that and you have no idea what is really going on."

    I said you can let your anger at us keep you stuck or you can do something different, that is your choice. He went on about what happened in the Walmart and blah blab blah and how he hasn't taken drugs---he has been drinking he said---but he hasn't taken drugs, in a long long time. Okay, Okay, I finally said. It doesn't matter, I said.

    He asked me for $2 for the bus and I gave it to him. I probably shouldn't have. I didn't know what to do. When your son asks you for $2 and you say, No. It's so hard to keep saying No all the time.

    Anyway, I can't go on talking about this right now. My heart is broken, and I don't know what to do next. So I am going to take a shower, go to my two meetings, and then go from there. Minute by minute.

    This hell on earth seems never to end. Thank you for your warm concern and care. I feel it, and it matters.
  6. TearyEyed

    TearyEyed Member


    I am sorry you are hurting so much. I am thinking of you and I understand just how you feel. I am in very similar situation with my son. Remember, you are not alone. It helps me when I am in my darkest moments to remember all of our special friends on this forum......we all get it. We know the pain. It helps to know we are not alone. You will get through this. We all are here for you.
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry! You sound broken right now. Take today and go work on you and get strong again. You know you can't change this! You have tried and it hasn't changed a thing. It is his turn to earn something and make those changes.
  8. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    COM I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers today, hopefully each day it will get a little bit easier.

  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thinking of you COM...............sending hugs................
  10. Esri

    Esri Member

    I'm so sorry for your pain. ((Hug from one mom to another))
  11. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    COM, I do not know what to add except that I'm thinking of you right this moment & saying a prayer for you for some peace that you so deserve. You have been there for me and I am here for you. Although I physically can't give a hug, I'm sending you one anyway. (((COM)))
  12. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    It is, isn't it? Its awful.

    Today is awful.

    Its so hard when something happens and we have to see them as they really are, today, now, in the real world. difficult child is as you described him in your letter, and he is accusing and angry and self-pitying too. Such ugly things to see in our sons.

    And yet vulnerable and scared too. Such awful things to see in our sons, and to know...that it is not in our power to change that.

    I hate that. I hate this. I am so so so sorry for all of this, Child.

    All we can do is circle the wagons for you, Child. Cedar invoked that imagery for me over the winter..everyone, all of us here, circling the wagons, keeping you in the middle, in the light, with the dark held in abeyance.

    Child. My heart aches for you and your precious son.

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  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The suckiest part of our letters, in my opinion, is that most difficult child either don't read them, read them with anger, don't understand, don't care how WE feel, and nothing comes of it. We pour out our guts and it is a rare difficult child who even respects our wishes to keep a distance. I did send letters and never again. The letters were misinterpreted and used against me.

    COM, that was a beautiful, heartfelt letter and I hope your difficult child is sensitive to your words and loving in his response to it.
  14. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I'm in the FOG that RE and Cedar talk about. It feels like time is moving very very slowly, and I'm in slow motion, my body is very heavy and thick and I don't know what to do first or next. I start one thing and then wander to something else and then something else, and then back to the first thing. I keep shaking myself and saying focus focus.

    I went to my two meetings---one was a client and the second was a group lunch meeting for an organization I'm in. I almost didn't go to the second one because I didn't know if my eyes were red or if people could tell I was weird, but I decided to do it anyway. It was good for me to put on a mask for a few hours.

    I came home and talked to SO on the phone and a friend who called who knows the story. I relived it again. Then I took a nap. I woke up and wandered around and decided to make the pasta salad I'm supposed to take to a cookout tomorrow night and then I'm going to an Al-Anon meeting at 6:30.

    I am so foggy right now.

    After I got back from the shelter this morning, while I was getting ready for my meeting, difficult child called multiple times and texted multiple times. The issue: The World Cup and where did I think he could watch it, and could he come here to watch it, and then did I have a radio I could loan him to listen to it.

    That was a shot to the system. It penetrated the FOG immediately. This, the World Cup he is thinking about, while on the way home from the shelter I was sobbing so hard I could barely see to drive.

    I am more upset about him than he is. Never, never, never a good place to be.

    I am going to try to take it easy and be kind to myself and do the next right thing in front of me. Physical work is always best for me in times like this.

    Everything you wrote, and that you wrote, too MWM, is like balm to my heart, which is bruised and torn and in mortal pain right now. I told SO I feel like I have taken 1,000 steps back in my recovery. Where is my recovery? Where is all of the progress I have made in the past four years? It feels like it's been stripped away in a moment. I don't get it. But it is real. These are real feelings and I know---you have taught me, and experience has taught me----that I have to just live through it. I just have to keep moving forward, even if it's just an inch at a time.

    Surely, something good will come from this.

    P.S. My sister has not responded to my email at all. I find that very painful to contemplate, and of course, I am taking that fact out, turning it over and over, stabbing myself with it, and then FORCING myself to do nothing about it. I am so angry, but I know it's likely 80% misplaced anger. I said my piece to her yesterday, and I said it kindly and clearly, and it was and still is true.

    I am just so helplessly angry at this awful, terrible, horrible, evil disease that hurts all of us so very much.

    And then I am so blessed by each of you and the care, love and concern you show---us, we women, who do not even know each other, but we do SO know each other.
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  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is one of the worst things...how is it that all our growth, our effort, our hard work is stripped away in a second?

    But it isn't really. It is there, buffering the damage, keeping us from reaching the bottom, speeding us in our return to the surface and clean air.

    But I know exactly what you are talking about, Child.

    It's awful.

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  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh COM, I know how you are feeling right now, we all do, we've been there........ and many times too. I am so sorry, it does hurt like the dickens, I know.

    If you are indeed in the FOG, it is not a step back or 1000 steps back, it is an internal fight to NOT behave in the old ways while the NEW ways attempt to gain strength...........it is a battle going on inside of you which produces the FOG, a place of non action and internal turmoil as your maternal desires clash with the truth of the situation. It is a part of recovery, it is not a relapse, it is actually, in my opinion, a positive progression............even though it feels really bad right now. Of course it would, you are looking at the truth and your hope is dying............that is an extremely difficult thing to face and yet, in my experience, we have to face it.

    Remember awhile ago I posted about the death of hope? If I remember correctly you had a strong response to that.............(I had a strong response to that too when I first heard someone say it) I think it's so devastating to us to think of giving up hope........but it is OUR expectation of what is supposed to happen based on our beliefs.........which of course we have, these are our children! But when our kids go off the rails, by their own choice, we eventually hit a wall called hope which begins to look as if our expectations are NOT going to be met. This is the truth. This is what is. This is an important point in our own healing............ we finally let go, we surrender to what is, we accept............but usually before we do that.............we end up in the FOG, holding on and letting go and holding on and letting go.......and it hurts like the dickens...................................

    ................... it's a process COM.

    Don't analyze where you stand in the process, because truthfully, I don't think we can know that because there is really so much FOG involved. We are all over the place emotionally and the landscape keeps moving keeping us continually shaken. However, it does end COM, it really does...............as we let go, as we surrender to the truth, we are set free from the tyranny of the illusion of control we cling to so desperately..................

    Hang in there COM, you're in an important part of your own healing..........hold on and breathe, refrain, refrain even from figuring out where you are, you are where you are and right now all you can do is...........let go...........

    I'm right here with you COM, right here........... along with ECHO and Cedar, and MWM, and Seeking Strength, and Tryagain, and Alby, and Tearyeyed, and Esri and Helpangel, the whole crew is holding you up, circling the wagons, keeping the faith while you just rest, just rest COM, rest in the knowledge that this too shall pass and you will be just fine..........and your son will find a way to listen to the World Cup and you will laugh again................I promise.
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  17. Annie2007

    Annie2007 Member

    Wonderful and very emotional letter. I know the pain you are feeling. I would like to use a lot of that letter and send to my son. God bless you and praying for you.

    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
  18. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I have been there so many times with that, with me bleeding all over the place and him worried about whether or not he has enough Doritos for his lunch. I've poured it all into letters I spent hours composing that he never read because he was too busy playing video games. I've sat there gently explaining and buffering what was IN my letter to him and getting his wide-eyed expression and finding out after the fact that he was laughing inside.

    I'm sorry, COM. But as RE said, at least he made it easy in this way, in terms of how much you "should" be worrying about him. Certainly no more than he is worried about himself. I think you should consider this a gift.

    You've come a long way, COM. This is the sort of thing that would have put you into the old cognitive dissonance thing. Not anymore.

    But I know it still hurts, so much. I'm so sorry for that.

    I do have faith that most of our difficult children develop empathy. Some have to learn the VERY hard way, but they get there. So let him take that hard way. In the meantime I say surround yourself with people who care back.
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  19. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    COM, I do love the imagery of a fire burning in the night with our wagons all around. And it's always a night image for me. I suppose that's symbolic of the darkness we grope through, seeking our way to the light. Each of us feeling our way, guided by the warmth and brightness of the friends we are blessed to have here.

    We all have different types of pain, but all have in common that a beloved child is breaking our hearts, causing us concern on a good day and horrid grief on a bad one. And we all have our caring souls in common, such treasures are these.

    Sleep friends, the fire will keep coyotes away and the wagons have soft mattresses for weary bodies and spirits.
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  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    However you feel COM, you handled this beautifully.

    There is no silence like that one, is there.

    It does matter, Child. We need to really get it that, for whatever reason, our children do not respond, do not even seem to think like, normal offspring. In sharing our stories here, we read the selfsame thing, over and over again. Whatever the mother has tried, however many times the child has moved home, whatever has been given or withheld...our stories are eerily similar.

    Though our children are of different races, are from different areas of the world, are from different cultures altogether...our stories are eerily similar.

    We need to learn a different way to love our children.

    It doesn't look or feel like we love them when we see them at the bus station, in Critical Care again, on the streets or, the worst situation of all I think...getting out of jail, ready to claim it is again time for a fresh start.

    Ouch, COM.

    Even I have never had that happen to me.

    You are battle weary, Child. You have stood up and stood up and stood up. I have learned that every incident brings up all the old business. For me, every failure with my child keys into toxicity from the past. Everything is in question, in flux...and we are required to make decision after decision without adequate information, without a role model, without a mentor.

    We have one another. We are learning a new way, and we are sincerely doing the best we know. We are battling our own mother-hearts to do it.

    But we are doing it, COM.

    I had posted to Echo earlier about her bravery, about her courage. You are brave, so brave, COM. To have prepared yourself not just once, but over and over again, for a son to come home out of jail determined to have what he wants because you are his mother and this time, he has changed ~ man, that is a Hell I would buckle under.

    You are strong, COM. You are not falling backward. The situations we all find ourselves in are customized, personalized, exquisitely attuned torture. For each of us, the worst, the very worst things that could happen are exactly what happens.

    In thinking about it now...maybe I would be able to handle the jail thing, after the first few times. But to know my daughter is being beat makes me crazy.

    I cannot breathe, cannot swallow. I get stopped.

    But that is what happens and she uses it to manipulate me, COM.

    We are living through a kind of devastation soldiers don't know. A soldier can take steps to prevent the horrible thing. Or, he or she can try to kill the person trying to kill them. It is personal. Our situations are so much worse. We are not on the field but our children are and they are their own worst enemy.

    Who do we go after? Who do we attack? What do we change?

    We are powerless.

    The child we love more than ourselves is his or her own worst enemy.

    You are brave, COM. What is happening to you is called battle fatigue, in other circles.

    In circles where the enemy can be killed; in circles where the enemy does not hold the territory of your own heart.

    I am not sure that we could come up with a name horrific enough to describe what this is.

    When I am in the FOG, it helps me to name it. Then, I know where I am. I know it will pass.

    I know where I am.

    There are times when just to know that is priceless.

    It is good, COM. I am so glad you did that. I would forget there was a world out there, right out my door, where people did not hate me, blame me, shame me, hurt themselves knowing it would hurt me more...and make me do what they wanted.

    Abusive behavior.

    It was worth it though, to see and touch him.

    What would your difficult child do if you posted back that his behavior was a classic technique of abusers?

    Good. That helps you to know the FOG is self-imposed. Our weapons are so few. Learning all we can about our own responses is a beginning.

    It is a hard thing, to love someone who is abusing us.

    Cherishing ourselves is mandatory if we are to survive. I lost something like ten years of my life to berating myself, to questioning my every move because of the mess I had made of my kids' lives. I tortured myself with "why", with "how".

    Don't do that. As Rumi says: Stop looking in that old way of looking.

    (That's not the exact quote.)

    That's okay, COM. Think again. Four years ago, you were in the whirlwind without a prayer.

    Now, you are in the whirlwind, praying for a miracle...and we are here, helping you see, helping you bear it, helping you be stronger until you are strong enough.

    An inch is good! An inch forward is no steps backward.

    I wholeheartedly feel the same way.

    Even when the bad thing first happens, I know I will come here, I know you will help me.

    I remember what it was like, when I was alone with it. There was no one to hear me, no one to defend me to myself.

    When our children are in danger, it is a mother's natural inclination to protect her child, even at the cost of her own life.

    That is what we are all up against, here.

    That genetic imperative to save the child.

    I love how Recovering describes things so clearly.

    All that stuff I just wrote?

    This is what I meant.


    Ouch, Alby. That happened to me, too.

    I could never believe they were laughing at my pain.

    We do need to do that, Alby. We have to be very determined about it though, because we are fighting that genetic imperative to save the child ~ even at the cost of our own lives.