Long, long journey to acceptance (swiped from a line by COM on another thread)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is what I wrote to my son yestarday by facebook message ( a pretty reliable way of communicating with him)
    In the days and weeks since I reesablished contact with him (after 2 months of no contact when he got out of jail), I have not once felt happy or light after seeing or hearing from him. At best I am a little annoyed and agitated...at worst I am very put out, inconvenienced, repelled, anxious, distressed..
    Saturday he was persistent about wanting to come visit me..I said he could shower and nap. As he walked in the door I got a call that my friend from work had had a bike accident and was being airlifted to the hosptial...I called my friends wife, who hadn't yet heard, and was scrambling to go pick her up.
    I let difficult child stay in the house.
    There isn't a horrible end to the story. I believe he shot up heroin while I was gone. My SO came home and found him high, and they talked about his use. Afterwards difficult child texted me...I love you mom.

    Dear son,
    I'm going to write about me now.
    I find that it is very draining and 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 I realize a reality that is very very hard for me.
    I don't think you realize just how far you have gone. You ask me often how I think you are doing..and it is hard for me to know how to answer. On the one hand, it is a victory for you that you shower most days, and that you continue to look for work, so I want to acknowledge that.
    On the other hand, you at all times look like what you are, which is a homeless man who is shaggy and dirty and unkempt, a heroine addict, a street person. No one who met you would mistake you for anything else...it is important that you realize that. Pizzeria xxxx won't want to hire you...they wouldn't even really want you as a customer. You probably don't see that about yourself because it has happened so slowly, but it is true.
    You are incredibly resourceful. It is amazing to me that you have managed to live on the streets for close to two years now. But you have also slowly lost almost all your resources...this time last year you had food stamps, government money, you were living in a house (granted a somewhat unstable one) and you were getting your GED.
    You may feel that you are doing well, but it is important to take a step back and understand the slow slide downhill that you are on.
    My sadness is many layers...first and foremost is that you are killing yourself with drugs. If you do indeed have hep C, and you continue to drink and use heroin, you will become bloated, turn yellow, and die. That is just a fact. 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 so used to being dirty, to the life of drama of who has been kicked out of where, of who is in jail, of who is using and who is trying to stay clean and who is withdrawing and who has overdosed...you don't even see it anymore.
    So in the end, I don't want to go to the movies. I can't have a relationship with some one who deliberately misleads me or actually lies to me on so many levels all the time. I don't want to be in the same room with the sadness and loss of my lovely young son who is just in free fall.
    I am always here if you should at some time decide you really want to live as an adult, to get clean, to live in a house, to have a few belongings like clean clothes and a bed. I am not, however, willing to entertain your claims of doing well, looking for a job, gonna get an apartment, any of the things that require actually moving forward. It is too hard for me, too sad for me, and it is endlessly heartbreaking.
    I am glad that you are happy. I get that you prefer this life, and at 20, that is a choice you get to make. I'm very sad and sorry that you don't have the cushion of the money from the government that I truly feel you needed and deserved to get your feet under you. That was supposed to be for food and housing so you could be a productive member of society, but it is gone now...again, something you chose.
    I am sorry you choose unstable people to spend your time with. I understand that you have good days with them, and that you are a loving and kind and affectionate person who needs a circle of friends. From my point of view they keep you in this life of drugs and dirt and drama. Who ever thought you would grow up to be comfortable with the idea of friends in jail, of yourself in jail, of emergency room visits and having things stolen from you and friends who are friends one day and throwing you out or attacking you the next.
    I am beyond sad that that is the life you choose for yourself.
    But I get that you choose it, that you often like it, and that as you tell me, you are happy.
    I will work to remember that you are happy.
    I also have to take care of myself, and I can't afford to be taken down emotionally by continuing to have contact with you while you are living this life.
    I love you. I embrace you with my whole heart, always. I do not want to see you or spend time with you while you are living this way and using.
    So good bye for now. Let me know when you can choose a healthier life, and can take steps towards that and keep walking. Until then...this is goodbye.
  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    That was so hard for me to read.
    I can't imagine how hard it was for you to write.
    Maybe I should do something similar.
    I don't think I can.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I am in tears reading this because I should write something similar myself.
  4. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    wow echo... i wish i could reach thru this computer and hug you right now. i felt it all as i was reading the love, the compassion, the pain but not enabling or condoning his choices... you are definitely one of the good ones and i so appreciate you and your words.

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  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh Echo. Oh, I have read the letter twice. During the first reading, I couldn't take it in and my head was spinning as I was starting to understand what you were doing here. During the second reading, my stomach was hurting. I was scared.

    I was living my own situation through yours.

    What gentleness, regret, honesty and love in every single word. That letter is as loving as your mother's touch.

    No blame, no shoulds, no controlling, no managing, no fixing.

    A beautiful and so painful display of valuing yourself and your life, and of so much love for your precious son.

    I can only imagine what it cost you to write that letter. And then to go over it again and again. And then to send it.

    Oh Echo. I know this is not why you wrote the letter, but I can only pray so hard right now that difficult child hears you and he thinks hard and he chooses a new life. I can only hope that this can help him reach his bottom.

    What horrible grief and pain we must endure to get to the point that you have gotten to yesterday, when you sent this letter.

    I am angry at this evil horrible disease, and what it puts us all through---our difficult children and us. I shake my fist at it.

    How are you today? Warm hugs and prayers and hope and deep caring from me to you right now. Be so very kind to yourself right now, Echo.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Broke my heart. I wonder how he will respond...if he will respect your sad boundary. I don't think so. difficult child's don't understand boundaries. Be prepared in advance to protect your heart and expect him to either call, crying and sounding all apologetic and guilty or furious and all about how it's YOUR fault. Do not be blindsided. Plan your response to any response he may have. If he is afraid you will not be sending him any more money, he may be frantic and furious so he could use either response. If he is honestly sorry, but unwilling to change, expect "I'm no good, I'm a screw up, etc." But don't expect change because of your letter. Make #1 Priority be yourself. BE SAFE AND GOOD TO YOU!

    I love COM's "This conversation is over." Or whoever said that. It's very helpful.

    Another sad thing about difficult children is that we pour out our heart and soul and after I did that once to 36 he never did respond to me about my feelings. When I asked if he'd read the letter he said, as if he'd just remembered, "Oh, no, I threw it in the garbage after the first paragraph. Not going to sit and read your meltdown. Don't waste your time doing that again because you're just being an emotional woman." This was a long, long time ago and I don't quite recall his exact words, but it is possible he asked, "Were you on the rag when you wrote that?" He would ask if I was on the rag a lot when I still had my period. I guess he knows by now I don't anymore...lol.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    Echo, hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  7. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Tough choice, Echo. Yours and his. Detachment doesn't mean you don't love, don't care, don't worry. It means you allow natural consequences to take over. You allow him to choose the life he wants. But you choose to not be involved in what you see as dangerous, as illegal, as manipulative. It's hard on a parent to do this. It's hard not to try and fix. I like to compare my difficult child to my 2 pcs. (Although I know a lot of folks say you shouldn't compare). If one on the pcs call with an emergency, I jump. They rarely call, they are stable, self-sufficient adults. With difficult child, it's always an emergency, a problem he wants me to fix. I have learned by saying no, he is slowly growing. But I still cringe when his name pops up on my phone :(

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  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    It is such a familiar feeling of awful loss...the same feeling I had when my mom died after a long illness. Bottomless sorrow overlaid on deep fatigue.

    MWM, you were right. difficult child was waiting for me as I walked home from work...I even went a slightly different way than usual. He hurried over and came up behind me (I saw him from a distance, and saw him see me and jump up from his group of..we'll call them companions, I guess). He said "I saw your facebook message, I just didn't know how to respond". And then he said "I hope this is OK, seeing each other in the park and saying hi". MWM, I hadn't gotten your message yet, and I wasn't prepared, so I smiled weakly. It was unexpected, and more than I could take to see him so fast. He walked along with me, asked about my day, told me a story about losing and finding his phone. When we got to the edge of the park (it isn't very big) I said "all this counts". And he looked away, and cut left and walked off, looking...pained? irritated? upset? mad? I couldn't tell.

    Later last night I looked at his facebook page (I know, I tell everyone not to do that) and he had a new post that said "I wish this was all a dream."

    Probably nothing to do with me, but it struck me to the heart.

    I just remind myself...I cannot change him. My acceptance or support of him allows him to think he is sort of a normal variant. It upsets me and throws me off to have contact with him. A little contact leads to a lot of contact....always. A little contact can be ok, but a lot of contact is not. He hasn't changed in 2 years...in fact he has gotten worse, more entrenched in his lifestyle. I can't "hang out" with him while he continues this downward slide. He was late coming to see me on Saturday because he stopped to buy heroin (pretty sure about that). His denial of his situation and my relentless hope for change is a toxic combination to me. For all these reasons and more, I can't keep on as we were doing.

    I'm going to work from home today..glad I have that option sometimes. I'll run, meditate, pet my dog, and make a strawberry cake for later when my easy child's come back from 2 weeks with their dad. None of that will make the ache in my chest go away, I know that, but it will keep my hands busy, and time will pass, and it will get better.

    It reminds me of those bad break ups in the past...I hope he'll call and say he's realized something huge and everything will be different. It didn't happen then, and it won't happen now...my work today is to recognize that soul-sapping hope and try to release it to the sky.

    Dammit, Help, Child, MWM, Everywoman, Thank you so much for those loving, kind and thoughtful responses. I felt less alone yestarday because of them.


  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Echo, I'm so sorry. I learned the hard way that they really don't want to let us go because we are their back up in case they get into trouble and, like small children, they want us to be there...with money, with bail, with whatever....even though they abuse us they are attached to us with the wants and needs of a small child because they are not growing up normally. They want us to accept their behavior, but they won't accept our boundaries. 36 can call me ten times a day and even gets angry if I CAN'T answer the phone and he needs me...sort of like the world changes it's rules in his favor if he needs to talk to me. And, to be honest, often I am just not up to talking to him so I just don't answer. I have told him 100 times not to call and call until I answer, that once is all I want to hear him calling me, but he disregards that. That's why your letter, so touching to all of us moms, made me think he'd disregard your boundary at once and force you to see him...and not even "get" what your beautiful, thoughtful letter meant.

    When we lose our child to drugs, dysfunction, aggression that we can no longer deal with, anything...the loss of the child we hoped we'd had does feel like our child has died and I always have felt grief. With both Scott and 36. With 36 it was when he was a little boy and it was clear he was not the sweet little boy most people have, that something was very wrong. With Scott it was about two years of grieving the loss of him. I have actually landed in a place that is pretty good and not so much about them and I hope the same for you. I have always wished their were grief groups for those who had left a bad relationship...ANY relationship. This is the only place I've found where I get understanding. I cling to the board because it helps me stay strong. Although Julie's problems resolved and I am no longer grieving for Scott like I used to, there is always 36. And he is ALWAYS THERE, even though he's in Missouri. Hard to explain, but when he calls me every single day five times a day to complain about the stuff he does that ruins his life (he's doing a whopper right now) and asks for advice then yells at me when he doesn't like the advice...well, it is hard to just move on. This board keeps me going and allows me to decide not to talk to him if I don't want to. Remember, we are here for you 24/7, 365 days a year.

    Now that you know he didn't "get" your letter and won't accept your boundaries unless YOU enforce it, you can prepare your next response to his inevitable next contact with you. Like you, I hope it is from a rehab that he entered on his own. But it is best to prepare a response for every scenario, including saying, "Unless you decide to rejoin society, this conversation is over."

    Don't check his FB.

    Take good care of yourself today. Drink lots of chamomile tea (weak smile).
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  10. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    The FB message was so poignant, so powerful - at least for us moms. I have a feeling this letter has been building up in your heart and mind for a while. It is a very loving letter; you make it absolutely clear that you love him too much to be around for his free fall. Who knows? That FB message may make a difference for him down the road.

    Addiction is such a cruel tormentor. Songs and poetry tell us love conquers all, and it's maddening to learn love seldom wins over addiction.

    I hope you have a calm & peaceful day and can smile. It would be a much worse day if the message had been written with anger/disgust.

  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    There is such wisdom here, like MWM knowing he would react to your FB message. I hadn't gotten that far. I was still dealing with the letter, my emotions, your emotions, our sons, etc. It is such a gift to have friends who look up and out to the horizon and alert us to what is coming toward us.

    Bless you Echo. Unprepared, you stood your ground. What strength, courage, love that took yesterday in the park. Of course he reacted to your reinforcing what you wrote, as this is a new boundary you have set. We know from Cloud and Townsend in Boundaries and from our own experience that people will not like it when we do something new. When we say, hey, you know that thing we have been doing? Well, that's not working for me anymore.

    They aren't going to like it. AND, that may be a small step toward them taking responsibility for themselves in a whole new way, because we have created a vaccuum and nature abhors a vaccuum. Something will come to fill it, Echo, and it might be something good.

    Bless you again. Of course you had to look at his FB page last night. I can't imagine any mother alive who would have been able to resist that action. And then, of course, having looked, you took on his reaction. Who knows what he meant? Often, I wish the hell I have been living with difficult child over the past XX years (seems like forever sometimes) was a dream, and I would wake up and he is a college graduate with an apartment and a job and a nice little girlfriend, and they are coming to the lake with us to ride our new Seadoos. What I would give for that type of normalcy with him.

    We wish to wake up from the nightmare too. But we don't and we can't and that is why you wrote that letter to him.

    This says it. Sitting and acting normal---making small talk---hey how are you? Hope all is well. Great weather we're having...while we are crying out inside ourselves every question that we can't and won't allow ourselves to ask anymore, it's just too much. Watching and listening to the absolute insanity makes us crazy. It makes us sick at heart and sad and depressed and hopeless and so many negative emotions. Why do we put ourselves through this? Because of love, I know, but as we have established here, love is not enough. Love will not save us or them. And we can only stand so much pain.

    It has been two years, as you said, and the slide continues. How can we really, truly accept that which we know is destructive and toxic and ultimately fatal? I think it would take a superhuman superhero to do this. It is ultimately impossible to sit ringside and watch someone we love self-destruct, doing nothing. I know I do not have the strength to do this, and I don't believe I ever will have it. I can only keep on working on me in hopes that somehow, someday, there is a break in this situation that comes from somewhere.

    You are so wise, here, Echo. Even in your pain, you know there is light ahead. You know because you have already visited this place, and you have gone on to a better place from here, and you will again. You will be changed even more, and you will have learned even more, and not without so many tears and the basest grief there is, but you will go on. And I am so glad you see that even now.

    Yes, I love this! Didn't we so wish and hope that our boyfriend would call and say, no, never mind, I just realized I really do like you and let's get back together? That was a child's wish, a young girl's hope, and not realistic. If difficult child is to change, the path from here will be crooked and unexpected and surprising and not predictable. Like SO continually reminds me, it took a long time to walk into the forest. It will take a long time to walk out of the forest. There will be no instant change, it is very unlikely.

    But Echo, I am still going to pray for that miraculous change in your precious son. I know it is possible and I am going to pray for it hard. I am going to pray that he makes a different choice in the days and weeks ahead. He chooses that different path.

    I am holding you close in my heart and mind and spirit today. Blessings and prayers showered on you. And lots of warm hugs. We are here for you. We care so much. Keep sharing with us.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for the pain of it, Echo.

    It was difficult to know how to respond to your posting. I could not put my finger on it, exactly.

    It has to do with heroin use in your home.

    I would have been so angry, Echo. For your son to have brought heroin into your home is an aggressive act of betrayal that had to have been planned ahead of time.

    Yet I don't see or sense that anger, that good, cleansing anger, in your post.

    Echo, you have to acknowledge the anger and the true sorrow, the true sense of loss beneath it, to heal and to stand up again.

    Echo, we are here, we can hold for you, we have been where you are ourselves.

    You need to touch that rage, Echo. You need to have it and taste it and name it and make it your own or it will destroy you.

    The site is anonymous, Echo.

    You are perfect as you are. Whatever it is you feel Echo, it is good and right and true. Anger is a good and cleansing source of strength for you Echo AND YOU NEED EVERY BIT OF STRENGTH YOU CAN ACCESS JUST TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAYS AND THE NIGHTS ARE WORSE.

    I have been where you are now, Echo. It wasn't that I didn't want anyone else to know how I felt about my own child...it was that I could not let myself know.

    I am the mother. Raised as I was, I refused to acknowledge anything but positive emotion for my child. Maybe a little anger...but not what I came to feel for him, Echo.

    I had to own those feelings.

    You do too, Echo.

    We are human, Echo. We are in something that feels like long-term torture. I am, pardon the French, p*ssed off most of the time.

    There is strength there Echo, and we need to acknowledge and claim it for ourselves.

    How dare your son bring heroin into your home.

    Where were the younger children during this time?

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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Things that helped me:

    Chen Rong, the Nine Dragons, handscroll, ink on paper.

    "The scroll is also very significant in terms of the Daoist philosophy behind it. In China, the dragon is a personification of the energy of the universe or Dao. ... The dragons are elusive, blending in and out of the clouds emulates the meditation experience....

    Study of this scroll helps me understand where I am going, where I hope to be, Echo. The range of emotions ~ the raw fear, the rage, the surprised confusion ~ all of it is there, in this scroll.

    I don't know why it helps me as it does.

    But it does.

    Now, I give that strange kind of strength in it, that mysterious understanding that we are all progressing through something we cannot know or name, to you.


    Here is something else about dragons, about transformation, then:

    "In the third transformation the dragon suddenly finds itself plunged into a dark chasm. In a desperate attempt to stop its plummeting, it claws at the edges of the abyss. Where only moments ago it had been soaring on waves of newly liberated energy, now it finds itself in a sudden and terrifying free fall. Both the danger and the desperation are real."

    The Abyss


    For this relief, much thanks; 'tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart.

    Wm Shakespeare


    Sybil remembered the crucifixions of her past, and by each of them, where she herself hung and screamed and writhed, she saw the golden halo and the hands of the Fool holding and easing her, and heard his voice murmuring peace."

    The Greater Trumps
    Charles Williams


    "You are not involved in word games.

    You are fighting for your spirit, your sanity, your soul."

    I don't know where I got that one.


    ...one of his violin strings broke. The audience grew silent but the violinist did not leave the stage. He signaled the maestro and the orchestra began its part.

    The violinist played with power and intensity on only three strings.

    Asked later how he had accomplished this feat, the violinist answered, "It is my task to make music with what remains."


    mother goddess with one breast
    eaten away by worms of sorrow
    and loss

    See me, now...
    your severed daughter
    laughing our name into echo
    all the world shall remember.

    Audre Lourde
    The Politics of Women's Spirituality

  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

  15. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    OMG Echo. Yes. I couldn't agree more. I was just thinking the same exact thing today. The feelings of grief and loss I have right now with difficult child is so similar to the feelings I had (and still have) after my mother died. It truly is bottomless sorrow....

    Echo - your story and journey is so similar to mine. It's crushing. I keep asking myself why. And even though my difficult child has hurt everyone in his path I can't help but love him with all of my heart. I'm so devastated because I know I can't see him or help him because if I do he will keep coming back for more and more. It hurts me so much to know that in a couple of nights my difficult child will be back to square 1. Actually it's worse than square 1. It's truly the bottom at this point. And yes, this is his choice and his doing but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

    I have the same ache Echo. It's a deep burning ache. It physically hurts and nothing I do right now makes it go away. I know you're right when you say time will pass, and it will get better but in the meantime it's an awful pain to live with.

    Anyway, I'm sorry I'm rambling. I can't think straight at this point. I just wanted to let you know I'm right here with you going through something very similar and I'm praying for the both of us to find some peace very soon.
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  16. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Echo, I have been out of town for the past week plus and just saw this thread.

    Your letter was so very heartbreaking to read. So many portions of it hit home for me, especially with looking back at how things were a year ago, 2 years ago. I remember thinking then how bad things were and wondering when I was going to wake up from this nightmare, never imagining he had further to fall.

    I'm so sorry he had to test you like that, to find out if you really *meant* it when you wrote that to him in FB.

    This is the thing, probably the thing that hurts the most, but in those dark moments it helps the most to remember, for me at least. We can't tell. We can't tell what's in there, what gets through, what might happen, when that moment of clarity might come for them. All we can do is tell them what we see, and stand firm.
  17. jugey

    jugey Active Member

    I'm a complete puddle!

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  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    MWM, he called again tonight...and again I was unprepared! I don't know why I picked up...he borrows peoples phones to call me, so I always at least suspect an unknown caller from out of state will turn out to be him...but I picked up anyway, even as one of my easy child's said...I wouldn't pick up, mom.

    difficult child said...I figured I would still call to let you know I'm alive.

    I used to ask him to do that. Beg him to do that, actually. At least once every three days. And he did.

    He said..you still want that don't you?

    and I didn't know what to say.

    What I want right now is complete separation.

    But I couldn't say it.

    He started to tell me what he was doing, where he was, that he was eating a healthy meal...he wants so much to share with me, it is so odd...he has always wanted to present himself as doing well.

    I cut him off and said that is enough. Thank you for calling (huh?). And he said...I love you mom, and hung up.

    I need to do better next time but I'm not sure how. I think I will just not pick up (but then he calls SO, and he always picks up..)

    Yes that is absolutely so. He almost desperately wants me to accept and love and embrace him as he is. He reminds me of a little kid...he needs to see himself in my eyes. And that cannot be.

    this is a agreat line. I have to figure out how to use it with difficult child. I basically did use it in a fight with SO last night, but it was much longer, uglier, and less elegant. I should have stuck with this.

    I thought about this for a long time. I couldn't conjure any anger at all. It was actually the straw that broke me, but I just felt...defeated. Flattened really.

    Cedar, you know I was very very angry for a while, all winter. I couldn't let it go, it was devouring me. It felt like my full work was to keep my anger from destroying my life. And it finally faded. I don't think I want to be angry again. I don't feel it now.

    My easy child's were with their dad. I don't tend to invite difficult child over when they are here...they are such a light to me, I don't want to dim my short time with them (split custody) with his presence. They worry if he leaves the room, and they wonder if I have made rules they don't know about, that he might be breaking..their vigilance is saddening.

    I remember this from the winter. I think you posted it then. It helped me... a lot. Hamlets brokenness, Shakespeare's magnificense, all of us so human and sick at heart.

    I need to study the dragon mural. I love the imagery you created with words, Cedar.

    I would like some comments about how to handle his calls and run in s (he was in the park again tonight as I walked through with my easy child's to go get a burger...we avoided him by taking a different path.)
  19. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    still here echo, next time he calls might try something like "i don't need all the details, its good to hear from you, i love you but i need to go now bye"

    even though you want separation if you didn't hear from him for a month, if anything like me you would start to worry and start scanning the internet obituaries, inmates etc looking for him.

    knowing he is alive but not getting bogged down by the details i guess is what i'm suggesting. sending you hugs and wishes for a peaceful evening.

  20. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Echo, I'm so sorry. I figured he'd call more than ever now because you are his link to sanity and, more importantly, money if something goes terribly wrong (and he know it could).

    When 36 catches me off guard or I decide to pick up the phone and he is talking about some dilemma he got himself into and could get himself out of, I don't say anything. I just listen and add a few "Uhmmm...hummmmms" every so often while sometimes putting down the phone. Some of what he tells me is very upsetting and then somebody is at the door and I have to go. Sometimes he wants me to talk his father into giving him a big bag of money and suddenly I have a headache. I get off very fast. Of course, if he breaks my "respect" rules, I gently hang up...as I told him many times before I started doing it that I was going to no longer tolerate.

    If you are caught offguard in a phone call that you both hope will say, "Mom, I see the light! I want to stop using drugs!" and know will be more like, " Ummmm, yeah. So...why are you angry at me?" I really think the best response is none and to just listen or pretend to listen and get off quickly because (white lie) your dog pooped on the floor or your dinner is burning.

    In time you will learn how to disregard the phone/texts when you are not up to hearing from him at all. Put the ball in YOUR court. After all, it is YOUR life. You can choose to fill it up with as many positive folks as you like and to tolerate very little toxicity.

    Until I learned how to do this, my life was constant drama and worry and I hated both.

    You are doing as good a job as one can expect. I have gone the letter route with both 36 (only one time) and with Scott (many times). What it told me is that although moms here, who feel your pain, cry over the heartfelt words, our adult kids sometimes barely read those words and, if they do, they don't really get the depth and feeling and love put into those words. They miss the message. I'm sure this does not apply to all difficult children, but most difficult children have little empathy and insight so our pain doesn't register with them nor perhaps does it even matter. And they do not respect our wishes. They didn't while they lived with us. Why start now?

    I decided not to commit my thoughts to paper anymore when dealing with my difficult children. They just dont seem to care about how others really feel. Scott would never answer my letters, but he archived them into his computer, calling them "crazy" and still reads them to remind him to be angry at me. So to me it is not a safe thing to do...commit to paper. The misinterpreted words could be thrown in our faces, as so much else is, by our difficult child(s).

    Here's a cold-hearted example from 36: His younger sister graduated Sunday. He was annoyed with that because I couldn't talk to him that day. He also never sent a card or a text congratulating her. This isn't because he doesn't like her. It's because it didn't cross his mind. He didn't care. If it's not about him, by God, it doesn't matter.

    Our difficult children tend to be all about their own needs and nobody else's so if we request something of them, they don't pay attention. What we want doesn't matter. Just what they want. Contrary to what some trolls have said here, our adult kids were not thrown out of our homes for just having mental illness. They were thrown out, after we tried everything and it failed, for illegal activities, disrespect, sometimes verbal/physical violence, and other very serious matters that nobody could live with in any healthy manner and that we can not change.

    It has made me sad many times to think about what 36 is missing by being so unable to connect with others and he's too self-absorbed to even know what he is missing. I feel bad for Scott too, probably mired in attachment issues. Both do not take the feelings of other people seriously. Neither thinks anything is wrong with him and are both 36, they will not change.

    You did a good job. Do something nice for yourself tomorrow. Find some serenity tonight!!!!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014