Long talks with husband

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We are back from our 6 day road trip to drop difficult child off and do some sightseeing in our way back. Those three and half days on our way back also gave us an excellent change to talk without hurry or anyone interrupting. This past year was not only hard for our difficult child, it was very hard for me and husband by proxy. For both of us individually and also how we react to these things as a couple and partners and parents. We ended to bad enough patch that I absolutely demanded marital counselling. It has been very helpful. We have refound a lot of great things lost in the years of crazy schedules and being just the parents and runners of the circus we call our family. However even in counselling we were always postponing starting to work with all things difficult child because there is so many sore and hurtful things in that pandora's box. And the spring we were in survival mode with difficult child again.

    Summer has been easier and finally we were ready to tackle that topic. Not to have a totally miserable trip, we made a rule when leaving difficult child's new town. Absolutely no talk about kids outside of the car. So nights, dinners and actual sightseeing was kid free zone and being in the car was for quite profound talks about us, parenting, difficult child, our relationships to him, past stuff, future, our fears and worries about him and our hopes for him. And a bit about easy child also and our impending empty nest in future.

    You have to understand that during the last year, we both have had very separate relationships with our son and we have kept them rather mum from another. In fear of huge fights we haven't talked about him much. Mostly just practical matters. And yes, assumed way too much about how other one is feeling and thinking.

    Now we were able to have really good talks, and not only because husband admitted some things true I have speculated about his reactions to difficult child. About feeling lost and helpless and getting frustrated when there is no way he could fix things for difficult child and help him. Feeling inadequate to console him and overwhelmed by intensity of difficult child. And feeling shame and guilt that so many bad things happened to his child in his watch and not even noticing anything and even less being able to protect him. It's kind of funny, because I'm the neurotic one in the family and he is much more laid back, that this uncertainty around difficult child seems much more difficult for him to stand than it is for me. I never understood how much time he has spend fretting over difficult child and his future.

    Another things never occurred to me is that in some ways husband is even more in need to learn to detach than I am. I found him some reading material about detachment (but no, didn't give him a link here, I selfishly keep all you just mine) for the hours I drove. He sees the sense and admits that he needs to detach. Not because he would be enabling difficult child, but because he relates too much of difficult child's actions and success and struggles to himself. To what kind of father and man he is. It would help if he would be more able to let go the idea that difficult child reflects on what kind of man husband is, what kind of family we are etc.

    Of course there are no answers for us: We can't fix difficult child. It really isn't possible to console him. If he will be able to fix himself will be seen, but that and rest of his future is so totally uncertain and we just have to deal with that. Also guilt or shame is not going anywhere. He got hurt again and again in our watch and we were not making it better and while having to look at that truth to the eye may get easier in the future, also us will be scarred forever over these things. And detaching, well in the end, it is just a way to deal with things without hurting so much.

    Still, for the first time in year I feel we are actually in the same boat and going to same direction and not just trying to fell the boat.

    We also talked about practicalities some more and about the deeper reasons for our decisions on those. We decided that we are ready to give difficult child a lot of practical and material help when and if he needs it even after he turns 21, which was the date we always thought our kids would be more in their own and only needing sporadic help. But difficult child has special needs and needs help which he may not be able to cover in some years. We are lucky he is so driven and we don't really have to worry so much that our help would stunt him or make him stay stagnant. Just now he doesn't even need a lot of material help from us, just some plane tickets for his sport psychiatric to go and meet him time to time. Advice, well, those are cheap.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SuZir, I want to acknowledge you and your husband for being able to communicate in such healthy ways, many couples are not capable of that depth of connection. It brings you closer, with more intimacy. Good for you guys! Life (even without difficult child's) has so much stress that forces our attention to external issues,........... I have to take breaks from all of that............and often. Perhaps you and your husband can begin planning for your empty nest by taking short trips alone more often to offer you that level of connection more regularly. Nice post, thanks.