My Secret Sorrow.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by DazedandConfused, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    It's been a while Conduct Disorders family. I check in and read when I'm feeling down or just need to know that I'm not the only that struggles hard to maintain a semblance of a normal life when those I have bore, nurtured, provide for, and love can barely stand to be around me, let alone involved in their lives. Unless, of course, it means driving my car and getting some cash.

    I shared this in another thread, and thought I should probably write one of my own.

    To give this some context, I graduated from college last year and got a new job. So I went from working full time and going to school to working 12 to 14 hours a day Monday-Friday at my new job. I'm worn out physically and mentally the majority of the time. However, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel job-wise and getting my degree is the realization of a life-long dream. It WAS, indeed, for me.

    My difficult child children, are well, difficult children. Looking back and now, I realize that daughter is a Borderline. Out of all the doctors and specialists she saw over the years, I think only ONE hinted at it when she was 12 or 13. I reflect and think how could I have missed it? So reactive, so over-the-top, yet absent were the symptoms that come with Bi-Polar. That girl fought me on just about everything growing up and continues to this today. She lives at home in her filthy room, looking awful most of the time, yakking it up with her friends on her phone. She "screamed" at me that she's a lesbian and that I don't accept her for who she is and that she can't talk to me. However, what I have learned is that "talking" to her is her yelling horrible things at me. We live in the same house, but communicate mostly by text message because most other conversations end up in her screaming, yelling, and slamming the door.

    She driven my car for the last 4 or so years. I've driven it ONCE. It's pretty much trashed now. I don't even want it back. I did have plans to trade it in to buy a new one, but I look inside and see what a mess it is and all the damage. I've told her to save her money to buy her own car, but she can't qualify because she mostly works part time. If she doesn't have the car, she loses her job. In our area, jobs are very difficult to come by. Especially, if you only have a HS diploma. Her problem? Yes, I know.

    husband has found half drank and empty alcohol bottles in her room. She has told "text" me that she's so very depressed and she shared, i.e., screamed, she had some very horrific things happen to her as a teenager but didn't tell me because she, at the time, didn't understand what was happening. I strongly encouraged therapy and she got angry and said that she's sad about our relationship being so estranged and that is because she can't talk to me about her romantic relationships in detail. I told her I wasn't comfortable with that and I do care that she's happy because due to the trauma she has experienced a professional would be better equipped to help her, but I would be willing to go to some of the sessions if she wanted to there. She exploded and accused me of not wanting to talk with her and trying to send her to some stranger.

    Bottom line is this, she has admitted to using drugs, and of course, husband has found empty alcohol containers in her room on several occasions and in the car. Whether she continues to drink and use I am not sure of. She always gets up and goes to work, though. Sometimes at 4 am.

    After going back and forth regarding therapy for the past few months, she came to me and asked about going. I am fortunate to have very good mental health insurance that after a reasonable deductible, is cost free for unlimited sessions. I am going to print the list and the rest is up to her. I realize that I can't save her. I can point her in the right direction, but I can't make her do it or do it for her.

    In the meantime, I wish she would help out around the house and stop leaving mess after mess. It probably sounds petty, but I come home from work after 12 hours and spend time cleaning up and collapse into bed to start all over again.

    Son is almost 18. Hard to believe. He was just a little guy when I first came here after daughter threatened to stab me when she was 12. It's been rough roller coaster with him too. Drugs or alcohol? I'm not sure. Probably not. He's always been irritable and mean. Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified by a very good psychiatrist whom he HATES and I force him to see to get his medications. She's a wonderful and gentle woman with an outstanding reputation and Son hates that he has to see her and take medications. He threatens me all the time with stopping when he's 18. The very thought of him without medications as an young adult makes my heart race and I've been very straight forward with him, no medications means no living at my home. His response is that I then have to find him a place to live. Oy!

    He plans to attend community college. He has tried for over a year to get a part time job. I know how he looks make people hesitant to hire him. He looks much younger (about 13 or 14) and he's skinny with big glasses. I do admire that he never gives up and just keeps trying. Then, there's that horrible side he saves mostly for me. According to him, I'm crazy, a bad mother, nosy, and a loud mouth who butts into his business. Even though, I'm generally very quiet when it comes to talking about him. I've shared a few proud moments, but that's it.

    by the way: My difficult children can't stand each other. So, family stuff doesn't happen for us. It's too stressful and usually awful.

    Where is husband in all of this? Gone working mostly. He's a good dad. Daughter has begun to communicate with him more. She has always been closer to him than to me. Also, she lost her beloved grandfather when she was 14 and he was always to loving and accepting towards her. I was always the enforcer and trying to keep every thing and every one in line. He's close with Son and talks to him daily. Always spends time with Son when he's home.

    husband does worry about me. Our marriage is fine. We've been through Hades together. He's the only one who has witnessed the full outpouring of the pain I carry on the inside. I don't let people know how very sad my home life is. I'll see happy family pictures with smiling faces of beautiful children come across my FB newsfeed. I know that other's don't have problem-free lives, but to be able to enjoy the simple things like a picnic or a trip to a museum peacefully. when I see those pictures, I have to hide them. I'm truly happy for them, and some being my own extended family, but then I feel devastated over what I never got to experience as a mother or even a child myself. Healthy family bonds and family simply doing things together and enjoying each other's company.

    My goodness, what IS that like? Truth is, I'll never know.
  2. Sabine

    Sabine Member

    Start planning now.. run away from home when your DS turns 18. Leave the "kids" there (if you're renting, they can take over the lease, if you own, it's harder, but you may be able to figure something out). Take your husband and go! You deserve your couple-hood before old age comes...

    If your husband doesn't want to go to museums and picnics, you might be able to develop a friendship with someone with like interests..
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    LOL, Sabine. Most of us with grown kids are already getting senior discounts. Many in our late 50's and 60's, even 70s. But, happily, by now most of us have lived through the worst and have learned how to detach and enjoy our golden years, even though one or more of our adult children may not be doing as well.
  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You take comfort in your relationship with husband. This the most important thing right now. The petty stuff is not petty. I know it's actually the worst. Hugs. I also second the notion to run . You deserve a life and so do they, they have to find their own, not your problem but you could make it worse by your inaction. Go or get them out. I am not one to believe in therapy but I feel it is common sense and can come here and find evidence way better than a psychiatrist
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with everyone, run. Or remove them deserve a life, you're still relatively young, you and husband can make a plan now and execute it as soon as you detach from both of these kids. No one says you have to hang out for the next 10 years waiting for them to launch out of your home, it doesn't sound like either of them intend to change, but you and husband can. Your son may make that transition quicker if he refuses his medications. Your daughter is 22, old enough to be on her own. Create new dreams for you and husband and the remaining parenting time will go by faster as you have something you two are looking forward to..........
  6. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I don't think I'm ready to walk away from my home just yet ;)

    However, a plan is certainly in order. Whether or not I can follow through is another matter altogether.

    Daughter came home from work, went straight into her room, began talking loud on the phone so it can be heard throughout the house. I had text her a question which she didn't answer. I knocked on her door to get an answer and off we went.

    "I'm tired and stressed out."
    "I was sleeping, I'll answer later."
    "I can't talk to you."
    "You irritate me."
    "I don't want to be near you."

    Then, the yelling by her began. She has all these things she needs to do and began to rattle off a list. Then went on about how stressed she is. I do believe the stress part, but much of it emanates from her own actions or lack of.

    I'm not sure how things are going to play out with my difficult children, but I know that I certainly am entitled to be treated with respect in my own home.

    Edited to add: husband and I have many dreams and hopes for the future. We're solid with that. We both talk about the day we will have an empty nest and it's just us and our beloved doggies. There is a part of me that feels sad for my difficult children. Biologically, they didn't stand a chance to come through life without some kind of developmental and mental health issues. Both sides of their family is loaded with it.

    The majority of the time I stay strong, but some how Son slamming the door in my face really stung.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member


    The trail of destruction--room/car/problems--our difficult children create and leave in their own wake is the physical evidence of what is really going on in their lives and how deep and profound it all is. Most people who live "normal" lives have some sort of order about those lives.

    Like "you are what you eat," it's "you are how you appear to be."

    I don't want to live around that type of physical destruction in my house and where I have to see it every single day, as part of a person's life who I love.

    Today, I don't want to put myself through that because I care as much about myself as I do about my difficult child. For years and years, he was #1, way, way ahead of my own self. He's my son, and I would do anything for him.

    For a while, as I started to detach, stop enabling and work on myself, I said: I care more now about myself than I do him.

    That didn't feel right when I wrote it. I now have changed it to: I care as much about myself as I do him.

    I am learning what I need in order to live a sane life.

    I need order, quiet, a safe place to be (my own home), not to be too rushed and overworked, enough rest, regular exercise, tools to help me every day (Al-Anon, writing, this board, reading recovery literature and books, etc.), my SO, my friends, time away sometimes, etc.

    Even though I love my son very much, I can't live in the house with active addiction.

    What you describe sounds like h___. You should not have to live that way.

    If you are ready, can you set a date for your daughter to leave, give her plenty of notice, and stick to it?

    You should not have to live in a war zone. You have dealt with this for a long time, and it sounds like it is completely off the rails.

    We teach people how to treat us. We teach them by not saying: "No more."

    I am sure you are very upset about your daughter's mental illness and substance abuse problems. It will be very hard to set boundaries and stick to them. You will likely make a lot of mistakes. That is okay.

    We are all doing the best we can do at this moment. We can only do what we can tolerate and live with.

    Today, my 24 yo son is somewhere. I don't know where he is.

    He got out of jail last night. He came to my house in the middle of the night, picked up provisions I left on the front porch and I haven't heard from him by phone or in person. I purposely was not here last night.

    He recently said he didn't have a problem and doesn't need rehab. That is not good to hear, because his life is in ruins.

    I know he won't turn things around---if he ever does---by my providing a safe place for him to land. And I am not going to live with that in my home.

    I must stay out of the way to give God a chance to help him. To give him a chance to turn to God. I just can't fix things for him anymore.

    This is sad to come to this place on the road. It feels like a dead end. I am at an end. I am done.

    If he starts on a better path, and stays on that path sincerely, I---and many others---will come alongside him and support him. We will not do it for him. We will realize that relapse is part of the journey. His life will likely never go forward in a straight line---I have had to get my mind around that.

    We have to ask ourselves: Am I doing something for my adult child that he should be doing for himself?

    If the answer is yes, we are enabling.

    I pray that you can get some peace in your home again. This is so hard, to do what we must do---for ourselves and for our precious kids, but we can find the strength, courage and will to do it, through hard work.

    Blessings and peace to you tonight.
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. After reading this again...I don't see why YOU would leave your own house that you and husband paid for. We give our kids "roots to grow and wings to fly." Once they are of age, we have no legal right to control their activities and if they won't listen to our rules, in my opinion, THEY leave, not us. Why give them the house? They will destroy it. You and your husband deserve many wonderful years together and, if you want to live in your own home, in my opinion you should. It's entirely up to you two if you stay or leave; it should not be up to your difficult children. I mean, that's my take on things at least...It's not like you wouldn't allow them to live there if they followed your rules. They are choosing to leave if you want peace and if they refuse to give you that peace. At that point, if this were me, they'd both be facing two months to decide where they are going to live. If necessary, they can collect benefits to get help...all because they won't follow your house rules. Your house/your rules. They don't like the rules, THEY can leave. At least, that is the usual.

    To COM (and anyone else interested), I was flabbergasted the first time it was suggested to me that I was as important as my children. I couldn't accept the concept. THEY were the important ones, not me. It took a long time for that to sink in...I also thought it was treacherous of me to even smile if my child was suffering, even if he/she caused it. I have walked a long path and come a long way. I'm glad you are a quicker study than me :)
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I don't have a problem putting myself first for the most part. I understand it intellectually. I've done some things that demonstrate that.

    On the other hand, in the case of Daughter, she HAS suffered tremendously during her life. She was sexually assaulted when she was 15. It was brutal and I just learned of it a few months ago. It's things such as these, that she has experienced, that has me hesitate with simply throwing her out on her rear. I want to give her that chance to get help. At least point the way and if she does nothing, then I know it's time for her to go and find her own way.

    Is that for my own peace of mind? Probably.

    Son has returned home, walked into my room, and without saying a word, walked out. Honestly, unless he has an apology on his lips, I'm not interested in speaking to him.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to laugh at everyone telling you to runaway. We are doing just that.

    Yes we own our home free and clear but I cant see anyway to actually get the boys out and to stay out. So we have rented a little house right next to a park for when the grandchildren stop by. The only one we have actually set up a room for in the house is Monkey. She really doesnt want to only be with her dad and sister on her weekends with us. We have always been her rock. She is so excited about getting her very own room of her own with a bunk bed and all the trappings. She has always slept in either our room or with her other grandmother. In fact right now she is sound asleep next to me. Honestly I am wondering how many nights we will wake up because she cant sleep alone.

    I know people think we are nuts but Tony and I need to be alone after all these years. I have parented for the last 33 years of my life. Tony and were never alone even when we met because I came as a ready made family with a 2 year old.

    We have been having a very difficult time in the last several years and we are both desperately hoping this change makes all the difference for us. We need to be able to walk around nekkid and have sex anywhere we want!!! LOL Not really but you know what I mean.
  11. Sabine

    Sabine Member

    Moving is definitely a legitimate consideration, for some.

    As for this situation, it sounds like the kids need some rules to live by, if they want the privilege of staying. Daughter must go to counseling and clean up her room, and pay rent. Son.. it would be better if he went to a 4 year college that is located at least 3 hours from home. He could stay in the dorms or get a room outside of the school. Financial aid and student loans are widely available.

    Just a note: Your daughter really does sound troubled. Raped, and now she's a lesbian? Doubt the two concepts have nothing to do with each other. She's been begging for you to talk with her about her issues. Do you think she's HONESTLY wanting you to talk, or is she somehow manipulating you?

    If she honestly wants to have this discussion with you, then it may be helpful to just do it. I know it's not comfortable to talk about sex with our kids, but if it would help.. it would help. The both of you should go talk with the counselor together, the counselor could help ask the right questions and mediate the conversation (since it's obvious the communication between you is not .. functional).

  12. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I found a precious 1 bedroom home. It has a "study" that could be turned into a guest room for my darling grands. I may have to move for my own safety. My therapist told me that I was not responsible for the abuse heaped on me as a child, but as an adult, I am responsible for seeking help in order to heal.
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dazedandconfused I am so sorry about your daughter's assault, that would put a bit of a pause on me as well. Certainly offering her time to heal is appropriate. I'm glad you and husband have plans for your future too, that seems important.

    Living with a wounded daughter and a teenage boy is A LOT!!! Geez. Be especially kind to yourself! .......hugs......
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My dear, precious daughter was assaulted twice...once when she was eight and she didn't tell anyone until she was fourteen. She declined any help and we offered her any help she needed/wanted/craved. She did use drugs and I think that may have been one reason, however it was not the only reason and it didn't change what had happened and as she turned eighteen clearly it was on the way to killing her. Although she refused all help for t hat and the drug use, I went to a therapist to keep my sanity and I was told the same thing. Yes, Daughter was a victim of sexual assault and it's horrible to live through. However, she is refusing 100% of the good help we had offered her for this and now that she is an adult it is up to her to handle what happened in a helpful and productive way. She owns her behavior at that point, regardless of the bad breaks she'd had. Once we stopped feeling sorry for her and when she no longer had us as an audience for her rages, an amazing thing happened...she quit her drug use and got her life together. She even visited a place for sexually assaulted women, something she had refused to do while living at home. It helped her to learn she was not alone.

    She is a well adjusted, sweet young woman now and is very much just your normal mother-to-be. And I give 100% of the credit to my daughter and I'm so proud of her to have gone through so much and come out ahead. All of our difficult children can do it, if that's what they want to do. It is their decision. No matter how bad they had it as a child.
  15. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I would never condemn anyone who has decided that they needed to leave their difficult children or their home behind to find some peace. I can't count high enough the number of times I simply wanted to runaway, disappear, and change my identity because the stress of it all weighed so heavily on me. However, they will be the ones who will be leaving. My job is here and my retired mother lives right up the street. I'll be here until she passes. Frankly, I think it is unavoidable that the difficult children leave our city for better opportunities.

    Daughter and I managed to have a conversation (sort of) last night. I did have to threaten with removal of the car, though. The whole time she was whining about being tired and wanting to go back into her room. She was hostile and then she said, "You are always threatening me with taking the car and not allowing me to live here (which is true), if you are going to take the car or throw me out JUST DO IT!" I. agreed with her and said, "Okay, you got it"

    She expressed a lot of regret over where she is now. Dropping out of college when she was doing pretty good to party and be a druggie. She said she is "different" from the rest of the family and always has been. I asked her exactly how she is different, but other than being gay, she had no answer. Actually, living with her is a lot like living with my now deceased father, another Borderline (BPD) with some sociopath thrown in for good measure. She kept saying how she just can't talk to me. I responded that I'm here and listening, to which she then said, "I choose not to talk to you." I think the girl is so troubled that she simply has to get professional help to unravel it all. A manipulation, MWM? I think some of it is, and some of it not. She does push me away.

    She did start to become rude and curse, which she knows I hate and have requested numerous times for her not to speak to me in such a manner, so I said, "Okay, now hand me the car keys. You said for me to stop threatening, so hand them over." I could then see the regret of telling me to stop threatening her. I'm caught in such a vicious cycle with her. Bottom line, she must get help. She says she moving out in September. I'm dubious. It may be before then, if she doesn't get help.

    Then, there's Son. He wasn't home when I was on the merry-go-round with Daughter. He came home and ignored me. Finally, I told him he owed me an apology. He responded with, "What?! What did I do?" From there, is was all aboard the crazy train. I calmly explained his transgression against me and he flipped out. He went on and on. I can't even explain it all other than I wanted to take a sledge hammer to my head. He simply doesn't view me as a human, I'm an object. I get that isn't unusual for a child not to be able to relate a parent as someone who has feelings and hurt. A complete refusal to accept responsibility for his actions and even acknowledgement that how he acts is unacceptable.

    Then, this is where I finally broke down. I went in my room and just began to sob. I rarely do this because I like to keep my thinking straight and because I have dealt with so many crisis with them, I've learned to push it aside to deal with the problem at hand. He decides to call his Dad to confirm with him that I have no right to ask about his "private life". Of course, I know that husband is going isn't going to confirm that. What got to me was the lengths Son will go to go hurt me or try and "prove" I'm
    over-stepping my bounds or that I'm "wrong" or that I'm a bad person.

    Then, he continues on to tell me how the parents of his friends are "chill" people and that they don't act like me. Of course, he doesn't reveal his dark side to them.

    After that, I again warned him that if this type of behavior continues, he will not live in this house past the age of 18. His response was to tell me that I am "all bark and no bite" (Which isn't true. His cell has been turned off for over 6 months now because his behavior). Then, he tells me to throw him out now. To which I explained that he's still a minor and if he does something stupid, I don't want to have any responsibility. I don't tell him so much as a threat, but as a warning of things to come so that he'll straighten up. I know, how's that working for me, eh??

    Later that night, when I was pretty much brain-dead in my recliner, he comes up to me and asks me if I would like to hear what he wrote in a card to his grandmother (My mother). She's feeling sad because it was Valentine's Day the day before and she lost her husband to a sudden heart attack in 2006. He wrote her this lovely letter which included that "I love you more than anyone in the entire family. You are always so good to me." Of course, if he even dared to act towards her as he does to me, she would throw him out of her house in a heartbeat. In fact, she has in the past went he revealed his ugly side to her. If I were to tell her what happened the night before, she probably wouldn't speak to him for at least a week. I'm glad he's close to her. She helps out A LOT with him. I can't imagine what I would do without her help with him. Sometimes, just to give me a break or have him stay with her when there's that rare occasion when husband and I go out of town. Yet, it does burn that he would say those sweet things to her when I have fought so hard for him his whole darn life.

    This morning, he came into my room and told me "Good Morning" in a gentle voice. Then asked if I was still mad at him. I told him I wasn't mad, but I was confused as to why he makes it such a point to hurt me. He got defensive and said he wasn't trying to hurt me. Of course, once again I found myself slamming my head against the wall trying to get him to comprehend how his actions impact me.

    The subject of him moving out at 18 came up again. He also expressed how sad he was because we are not close. I looked him straight in the eye and told him calmly that as long as he acted like he does towards me, we will never be close. He thought about it for a minute, and then started up again about how sad it is. When I pressed him to take ownership of his behavior, he balked and then just said, "I'm out of here.". Then, he went on about how I never give him any money. Which is mostly true. Sometimes I will give him a buck or two. Plus, I pay for his bus pass, but if he wants pocket money, he has to earn it.

    I do have rules in my house. Please know that I don't just let my difficult children run wild. However, I'm gone most of the time working and I come home exhausted. I just don't have the energy to fight.


    You are right, being assaulted isn't an excuse to behave the way she does. I don't want to go into details, but it was more than one male and she had no sexual experience. She didn't tell me because she says she didn't realize what it was at the time. But, does that mean I should enable her behavior? Of course not. I am her mother and if I have some resources that could help her, I am going to offer them to her. Yet, she has to take responsibility for her healing. Did the assault "make" her a lesbian? I don't know, and I don't care. She was one of many very awful things that girl went through despite my best efforts. I tried to help her. But, once I offer the therapy, that's it. She has to follow through.

    Thank you all for your responses and observations. I'm deeply grateful.
  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Dazed, it sounds like you made some progress with boundaries with your two difficult children yesterday. It's painful for you and for them, but it's still progress.

    I hope you can continue to chip away at the mountain that has prevented you from having a good life, a peaceful, serene life that is filled with contentment.

    Because Dazed, we CAN have that, regardless. Regardless of what our difficult children are doing. Or not doing.

    Often, it takes getting them out of the house in order to start to have it. It is nearly impossible to live with active, untreated addiction/mental illness.

    You can't talk to it, you can't reason with it, you can't get it to see your side, you can't sit down to a nice dinner with it, you can't ask it to pick up its dirty clothes, you can't loan it the car, you can't give it $5 for dinner, you can't do one single thing that describes any type of relationship with it.

    And if you love it---that person who has become their disease---every time they walk by you in the hallway or through the kitchen, what you don't have with that person you love so much, your own child---is nearly impossible to bear.

    Once our difficult children are adults, it's time for them to go. Once our PCs are adults, it's time for them to go.

    I don't believe God meant for adults to live with adults. It doesn't work in the best of circumstances.

    Wishing strength and courage and will for you to do what you need to do today---to move toward a more peaceful life for yourself.
  17. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Thinking of you dazed and confused...and sending additional strength hope and care.

    Be good to you!