Need to ask forgiveness?????

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by standswithcourage, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I was thinking today about difficult child's life. He started with ADHD diagnosis throught Childrens Developmental services. He took ritilan and adderall throughout elementary and middle school and some of high school. Maybe his diagnosis should have been anxiety all the time. Maybe he should have had anxiety medications instead of ADHD medications. He was not a real hyper kid just didnt pay attention to rules and was very impulsive. I feel bad sometimes when I think of probably all the wron g things I did when he was growing up to try and deal with the behavior. We took him to counselors and we went too. When I knew that what I was doing was not enough I tried to find someone more knowledgeable about behavior than myself. Sometimes I feel I need to ask him to forgive me too for messing up sometimes. I remember one time when he was about 10 he was riding his bike. We lived at the top of a hill and I had told him not to ride at a certain place or at least look - I was always outside with them never left them outstide by themselves much - well he almost got hit by a car not looking and just darting out into the road - I took his bike and threw it in the yard and told him to go in. Now I am thinking that was impulsive and maybe he just couldnt help it but he could lose his life not paying attention. So now I think some of his impulsiveness is still there but he isnt thinking right. He tried to medicate his anxiety with anxiety drugs but took too much - therefore substance abuse - not good. Oh well - I hope you dont think I am crazy.
  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I understand how easy it is to second-guess decisions we made when trying to cope with our difficult children' behaviors and difficulties. I've done it a lot. But in the end I think that, rather than applying the lens of hindsight to details, we need to consider our motives. What were we trying to do? We were trying to do the best thing for our kids. We did it out of love. We did it in the hope that things would improve for them. We wanted the best possible outcome for them (and still do). As time goes by, therapies change and go in and out of fashion. medications improve, or change, or are dropped. But the unchanging thing is the love we had and have for our difficult children, and viewed through that lens we did not mess up.

    {{{hugs}}}, stands. Keep on keeping on! You are a good mom. No, a great mom! :)
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Please. It's not your fault he turned out the way he did. All of us made mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Since most of us make a lot of parenting mistakes, yet most of us don't have kids in their twenties who are screwing up...I think you should stop thinking about it and continue to concentrate where the blame belongs...on him. Whether he has ADHD or anxiety or full blown bipolar or autism or anything else, he never needed to turn to drugs. He made the decision to take them. Other people with the same challenges often DON'T take drugs. People who have WORST challenges often don't take drugs. He is fully capable of getting clean and seeing a psychiatrist to find out if he has any psychiatric disorders that were missed as a child. You can't hold his hand in this. He has to do it.
    in my opinion you look back too much and obsess over this adult child way too much. I would keep going to Al-Anon. Until this man straightens out his life, he'll just use anything you say to make you feel guilty so that you will cave in and do what he wants...which is giving him an easy time while he slowly kills himself. Tell your Al-Anon group how you feel, but I wouldn't say a word to him. Since my daughter went straight, we've had many talks, but the talks would have been useless while she was using. Take care and STAY STRONG.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My son and I have had that conversation. I didn't actually ask for forgiveness because I don't take responsibility for the doctor's mistakes. I did tell my son I was sorry I ever took him to the doctor to begin with but I thought I was doing the right thing. I did what a good parent is suppose to do. I didn't expect it would almost result in his dying or not leaving the house alone for the better part of seven years.

    He told me he didn't blame me, he knew I did what I thought was the best for him. Oh, on a bad day in The Bad Years he would throw it in my face, but I knew that was frustration speaking. All in all, for us the conversation helped us move forward. That's the most important thing -- moving forward.

    He hasn't been quite so forgiving of the medical profession.
  5. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thank you. I guess you are right. I really dont need to apologize right now for what I have done wrong or what I didnt do - because he may just use if against me eventually. I hate that I think that way - but he has done it before. Just when I get all sappy he sticks the knife in and turns it!!! That sounds bad - but you know what I mean. I did do the best I could - with a lot of mistakes - but I always got advice from good people - anyway I will quit obsessing.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    Have you printed these posts out to let your therapist read? Your part at least?? I think you are working harder and harder to blame yourself and anyone other than your son for his drug abuse and his breaking the law. This just sounds less and less rational, and I am worried about you.

    I DO understand feeling htat you made a mistake in raising your child. I truly do. But if you are once again attempting to take the blame for your adult son's behaviors, then you really need to speak to your therapist. It just isn't reasonable or rational.

    PLEASE talk get some intensive professional help.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have actually sat and wondered exactly if I could have had a part in my sons problems since he does carry a diagnosis of a personality disorder and most if not all of them list some sort of lack in parenting as a factor in the contributing causes. I fully accept I may be a link because of my own personality disorder that was never diagnosed in time...which was passed down because of my own childhood. And son doesnt blame me one iota for what is going on in his life. He hasnt blamed me for his lousy teen years with all the out of home placements or all the legal problems he has now. He may not want to accept outwardly that its all his doing but he knows inside its all on him. He knows I love him and I did my best.

    I have yanked my kid off his bike when he was too impulsive and rode out in front of a car. Wouldnt most people? He scared the bejeebers out of a poor woman and I beat him senseless that day. I think he was six. Actually I dont think he pulled that stunt again. I would have gladly taken him blaming me over him dying.

    I know I did so many things wrong. I am trying to do more things right this time around with the grands. I feel like I am getting a second chance. I also feel looking back I must not have done quite as much wrong as I thought I did because 2 out of 3 are pretty fine upstanding citizens. They all got the same parenting too. I didnt set out to mess up the youngest because I got bored. It was just in his genes. He ended up with
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    You're not alone in this. And no, you're not crazy.

    First of all, even parents with excellent parenting skills, resources, and a wealth of both general and medical knowledge have difficult children. A fact of life. And you can bet your bottom dollar that even those parents wonder if their was something they did or didn't do right. It's natural. A good parent wonders those things. And good parents tend to blame themselves even when they aren't at fault.

    There were so many stupid mistakes I made with Travis, despite the medical knowledge I had. I could carry around a mountain of guilt about him if I let myself. But I don't. I did the best I could at the time, right or wrong.

    Then with Nichole, her brothers issues were always so huge that hers really weren't noticed or addressed until it was horribly serious. No she wasn't completely ignored or anything, but I was blind to how bad she'd plunged until it was shoved in my face due to the fact that I was always working so hard to get Travis what he needed.

    Since she too has a personality disorder I've wondered if I contributed some way. How I don't know. As I parented her the same as her sibs, and they don't have personality disorders.

    It's natural to wonder or even to feel guilt. But it isn't fair to beat ourselves up over it, either. Hind sight is 20 / 20. As long as we do the best we can, no one can ask more of us. We're only human, afterall.

    I'm not a perfect parent. My kids won't be perfect parents. There is no such thing as a perfect parent.

    As for the anxiety.........I've had it as long as I can remember to varying degrees. Nichole always has too. I've never found a "magic pill" for it. But I have learned ways to cope with it and live with it, as Nichole is doing.

  9. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    That is all true. And I too suffer from obsessive thinking and anxiety (duh!) also I try to find other ways to cope - I feel that all the mistakes I made were out of love and that is all - just love and sometimes fear for his life - I know he would say Mom none of it was your fault - it was mine. He wrote me a letter the other day and asked for forgiveness and said it was his fault - well I do forgive him but right now I believe he has other motives for asking for forgiveness - so until I see changes and feel them in my heart I can forgive him but still not allow him to twist my emotions and get me to think he needs to come home because he doesnt - I believe that is what his motive is for saying that ,
  10. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    I think this is a normal phase of the grieving process we all undergo as we begin transferring responsibility for our children's lives over to them. If we are honest, we realize that there were things we would have done differently HAD WE KNOWN BETTER, THEN. To tell a child of whatever age that we always loved them, that we did the best we knew, and that we feel deep and sincere regret for what is happening to them now is a good thing, I think. But, just as our loving them then could not change the facts of their lives ~ whether that involved anxiety or any of the thousand other challenges our kids face ~ loving them now, however fiercely, isn't going to change the courses their lives are taking unless we can be strong enough, unless we can love them enough, to hand responsibility for their lives over to them.

    The child is the only one who can face his or her particular problem and choose to go the same way, or to take a different path.

    That's where the loving them now part comes in, I think.

    We can remember for them who they might be, yet.

    For me, the feeling beneath the question of forgiveness was rage.

    Parents who have focused time, attention, and money on the problems of a child who seems unwilling to take the steps he needs to, to change things for himself, become frustrated long before we stop helping in the same way. We want to change our focuses, proceed with our own lives, attend our own careers and celebrate our other children, but we can't. We are sad, we try desperately to make a difference, we send money and spend time ~ and the result is the same.

    That is when we begin to examine our consciences with fine tooth combs.

    One last shot at "what could it be, what can I do, how can I help".

    I think we need to go through this part.

    We have to be sure, absolutely positive, that handing the child back his own life, however problematic, is the right thing.

    We are as careful now as we were when they were little, as careful with them and as responsible to them as we were when we acknowledged we were lost, that our children were in trouble and were not hearing us ~ and when we sought help, for them and for us.

    So, that's my take on this question, Stands.

    Forgiveness is always about forgiving ourselves.

    Rather than punishing ourselves for what has happened to our children, we need to go back and remember how scared we were, then. We need to remember what it felt like to be desperate, to look anywhere, to read anything, to pay anyone, anyone at all, who told us they could help us.

    And we need to remember how all-encompassing our search for help, or at least, for understanding, was.

    At the end of it all, Stands, we need to allow our kids the freedom to cope with whatever their problems and challenges are. We still need to be strong, but in a different way, now that they are adults. We can tell them we are sorry this or that thing that is happening to them now has happened ~ but instead of asking ourselves what went wrong, or what we are going to do to correct it, we need to speak those questions out loud, to them.

    So they can stop blaming, and start to take responsibility for themselves and their lives.

    Whether they are living with us in our homes or whether they are on the streets (or imprisoned), we cannot save them from themselves, once they are adults.

    It isn't so simple as jerking them off their bikes so the bad thing won't happen, anymore.

    Our kids WANT to ride their bikes in traffic.

    They seem to WANT to self-sabotage.

    And they don't want, or take, our advice.

    So that's what I have to say about that, this morning.

    You will make your way through this part, Susan.

    You are doing just fine.


  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{stands}}} I think it's totally normal to secone guess how we parented our children; what would we have done differently? were our reactions within bounds? did we make too much of a small thing? etc...

    I think it's important to remember that YOU were not the sole influence in your son's life. He was exposed to various people over the course of his life and so he's been shown on many levels and in many ways the difference between right and wrong, normal and not normal, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Anxiety/ADHD/ADD/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc., are not the only deciding factors in our children's outcome. Nor is our parenting, good or bad. Think about a person you've read about or met who grew up in a dire, even scary, situation and yet, they persevered and grew up into a responsible, creative, curious, hard working adult. Against all odds, perhaps, they didn't become an addict or a thief. Then turn that around -

    I firmly believe that there is never ever one deciding factor in how our kiddos turn out. It is what it is, and we do the best we can with what we know. You've done your best and the rest is up to your son.
  12. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I've told this story before in PE but it bears repeating this morning.

    A couple of years ago Rob and I were at a coffee shop having breakfast. We were- finally- just starting to heal our relationship. He was in a good mood that morning so I asked him if there was something I did to make him behave the way he did when he lived at home. I asked him if there was anything else I could have done to make it easier for him.

    And he leaned back in his chair and smiled and said, "Mom, it was never you. It was ALL me. You didn't do anything wrong; I just wanted OUT."

    And he got in so much trouble during those years that he was successful.

    Later that morning Rob said quietly, "I didn't know how good I had it then."

    This conversation was the first time Rob had taken responsibility for anything. It was a major turning point for him...and for us.

    But he would never have had the opportunity to make that turn if he hadn't been forced to face his demons and come to terms with them.

    I am reminded of the Maya Angelou saying that is in my profile:

    We did the best we could with what we knew,
    And when we knew more, we did better.

    Hold that thought, Susan. Don't take on what is his responsibility to face.

  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter also says that. When I tell her that I shouldn't have moved her from her friends in seventh grade, she says, "Mom, I may have done it if we hadn't moved. It's just me. I wanted to be accepted and it was easy for the kids to talk me into doing stuff. Don't worry about it." :) Bless her. She's a sweetie.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think this is the first time you have mentioned this. Are you being actively treated (not just taking medications) for this? Because this diagnosis makes a lot of sense as to why you are so out of control. This is much much more than a chat board can help you with.

    With all due respect, would you try getting over it? You are exactly where you were last year on this stuff. How many times can we tell you to "forgive yourself", "it's not your fault", "let him go", "we'll pray for you".

    That he would say it and mean it sounds like a fantasy to me. That he would say it to distract you while he was stealing money from your purse sounds about right.

    You sound right on here. His letter was BS, and he wanted something. Why let him take you to the "When he was five years old I did..." place?

    Again, what does your sponsor say? Before you wrote this, did you call your sponsor?

    In the past, we have advised you to print out whole threads and show them to your therapist and/or sponsor. In hindsight, since we are all saying the same things over and over to you, I don't think that your therapist or sponsor needs to see what we wrote. But you should print what you have written out and give it to them. You don't see how irrational your postings are, and many people here are just plain too nice to say "this problem is in your head". Mind you, that your son is a junkie who lies to you and steals from his family is his problem. That you are obsessive and depressed and question every parenting step you made since he was born on a daily basis is your problem. It's not normal, and it's ruining your life.

    We all want you to be happy. It's time to put those thoughts aside. You have told us since February that you were going to make an appointment with your therapist. You told us that you would do it when school is out. It's July. Have you made an appointment yet? Are you calling your sponsor when you have these thoughts? Are you attending Al-Anon meetings each day that you have unhappy thoughts about your son?

    Are you aware that there is a support group called "Codependants Anonymous"? What you are doing is more about your being codependent on your son's addiction than it is about your son.

    Finally, you need to understand that your recovery, whether with a therapist, Al-Anon, or CODA isn't going to be fun or easy. Moreover you have to admit that you are the one with the problem. When you realize that it is going to be hard work with the reward of a happy fulfilling life, you can do it. Just like when your son realizes that stopping drugs would be hard work with the reward of a happy fulfilling life is when he will do it.


    P.S. After all of the advice and props we have given you, and the things he has done to your family because he chose drugs over family,the thought that you would even consider apologizing to him makes me physically ill. I think it makes you physically ill, too.
  15. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Exactly - he did chose drugs over us - many times. I will look for Codependent website. thanks
  16. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Also Witz - my husband agrees with you. (yeah!) He can see very clearly what you can see from my posts even though you dont really see me physically! I hope you have a happy 4th. We are - we are cooking out with our neighbors - no kids - no difficult children - easy child is at a friend - married daughter with her hubby - difficult child locked up - life is good!
  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Stands, my mother in law is diagnosed with obsessive disorders. Her obsession is hoarding - useless things, and cats. husband has some obsessive tendencies as well. husband and I have worked together in therapy on his obsessions (among other things) for several years. The therapists tell us that the obsessive disorders are extremely difficult to treat because the person with the disorder knows that they obsess, but believe that it is not harming anyone other than themselves, and the obsession gives them comfort (in a twisted unhealthy way) so they see no value in stopping the obsession. Obviously, this is part of the disease.

    Obsessions keep you from moving on to the happy things that are waiting for you if you will only stop and observe and take part in them. They are right there! But mother in law is too busy hoarding old newspapers and cats and worrying that someone will take them away, and you are too busy worrying about what you might have done to have a perfect child, to be a part of those good things.

    Obsessions harm the people around you because - fill in the blank. No one wants to go to my mother in law's house, and she's not welcome in anyone else's, because she and her house are filthy, unhealthy, and they stink. She doesn't see anyone outside of her home because she can't stop talking about how worried she is that someone is going to come take her possessions or her cats, and she stinks. Everyone related to her and who knows her feels badly because she's alone and lonely but they can't stand the smell of her and the constant verbal diarrhea of worrying. She is not a member of society.

    I feel as though it is possible that your constant worries and regrets also isolate you from society. Do you have any friends that you just go out for coffee with or to dinner or do girl stuff? Has it crossed your mind that - or has anyone ever told you that - it is difficult to be around you because you talk about your worries and regrets more than is comfortable for them? They are losing out on your friendship, and you are missing out on life. Not to mention, it doesn't do a darn thing to help your son. It's a lose/lose/lose situation.

    I know this isn't pleasant to hear, but I also know how lonely and unhappy you must be. I was where you are with the constant worry about my children. It takes a conscious effort and I often have to stop myself. But it is worth the effort. I have friends, and I do things I enjoy every day. That's not to say that I don't think about my kids every day, I do. But I realize that "what if's" and "remember when s/he did this awful thing..." are unhealthy and I just tell myself that it's done and over with and nothing I can do now will change the past and it's time for everyone to move on.
  18. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Amen. :)

  19. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    OK lets move on!
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    You mention obsessive thinking and anxiety. ARE you on medications for this? If not, you may want to look at this with a good psychiatrist. HAVE YOU MADE appointment WITH A therapist? WITH A psychiatrist??

    Please do this.