New to site, not to the issues

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I am so happy to have found this site. I am new to the site, but have been struggling for at least 15 years with my 30 year old son who oppositional, angry, and manipulative. He has been incarcerated at least 4-5 times and is currently serving a year in state prison for dealing heroin. I also have an adult daughter, who although doing well now, has had significant struggles over the years. I have been in private therapy, 12 step, etc. and they have all helped me, but it is a slow process to learn how to detach, set boundaries, etc. I have let FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) as well as my son's intimidation cause me to enable and act against my better judgment. I am learning how to practice self-care and to live my values, but I still fall down and doubt myself. Things are even more complicated now because my son has a girlfriend and she just had a baby. She and my son are always asking for support, a place to live, for me to bring his girlfriend and baby to visit in prison. I have not done so, so far. I am in my 60's, a high school teacher, with one son still in high school, and am exhausted by all that has happened. My son is very entitled rather than grateful for my help. I am learning to be stronger. Although not directed to me, I found the posts I read to be like good friends supporting me with sage advice, comfort, and empathy. Thanks so much.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • List
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Yes, you are one of "us". Stick around... lots happens here.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Acacia, welcome, sorry for your need to be here. Hugs to you and your hurting mommy and grandma heart.

    Gently, I would like to say if this is your photo, you may want to choose an avatar, this is an anonymous site, it is how we are able to post our most intimate feelings and stories. This is a public site, and accessed by others.
    You are not obligated to provide these things. There are agencies out there who will help, Acacia. I was drawn into the grandchild trap. I love my grans, and my d cs use that against me. I have written of this on many posts. I am not able to write at length, I have to go to work. (Sorry!)

    This is good that you are aware of what is happening. It is really a matter of patterning and response. We have to learn how to change our responses Acacia. This takes some work and rebuilding of self. Keep posting. We help one another. The advice and opinions given are just that, it is up to you what you do. This is your journey, but it sure helps to engage with folks on similar paths.

    peace to you
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome to the site.

    You sound like you are doing really well and know what needs to happen. Yes, it can take time for it all to sink in and to put into practice all the tools we learn.

    You will find wonderful support here and also, since you have been through it, please share your ideas with others.
  5. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Wow! What kind instant feedback. Group support is invaluable because it's one thing to understand things intellectually. It's another to actually put what I know into practice. "Hands off, heart on" as is said, but oh so much easier to say than to do. I have been at this for fifteen years, and I have come so far, and yet have such a lot to learn.
  6. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Welcome Acacia,
    Thank you for your post. This forum is a safe place to have landed. You show great strength and understanding of the issues and principles involved in your situation. You are right that is it a slow process to learn how to detach and set boundaries. I am also in my 60s and my difficult child is 36. I have been on this site for 2 months, and only recently realized the detachment from emotional fears to allow me to begin to stop enabling. (like you, I still fall down and doubt now and then.)

    I also felt (and feel) exhausted, but through the support on this forum, I am becoming stronger. You are so right that we can learn so much from reading others’ postings here, even though the responses are not directed specifically to our own situations. I come here every day to seek peace and wisdom and always get built up stronger and leave the site with some relief. Keep posting and visiting here. It helps so much.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • List
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Welcome Acacia, and we're glad you're here. You have gotten great thinking so far, and I hope you feel positively reinforced.

    Just today, I was texting with a good friend who has a 44 year old son who is still "at it." She is 70. As she said, she gives and gives and gives and it's never enough. She's exhausted.

    My son is 26 and has been doing a lot better for nearly 18 months. He has a job, a place to live, and is slowly rebuilding his life. I am encouraged, but I am often reminded that I need to be very...very...very careful with myself in interacting with him. I can easily slip off the wagon.

    This past two weeks has been very difficult with him. He was scheduled to have surgery nearly two weeks ago, and at the very last minute, the surgeon canceled due to abnormal liver function tests. He spent the night in the hospital. He has Hep C. He has no insurance. Now, of course, he's all about getting insurance, with "other people's money" (OPM). I've been talking to him about insurance for more than six months to no avail.

    My son is doing better, but I have to be reminded that he still has very faulty thinking and behavior. If I decide to get involved, then I am getting close to the fire and I am likely to get burned.

    These two weeks have been a good learning experience for me, and I am trying to see the time as just that, instead of getting mired down in the muck (which I have already done!). His car was shot, and I ended up buying him a car this weekend. I now am resenting having done that, as his text to me on Monday was "I don't think this car's getting good gas mileage."

    Really? I mean, really. I thought I was helping someone who was working hard to help himself. That made sense to me.

    But I am now seeing that I have been spending too much time with him, I know too many details about the ins and outs of his life, due to all of the medical stuff, and I am backing off.

    I can get all "urgent" about things like injuries (he was stabbed last summer), or illness, like his surgery reason and the Hep C. I can start feeling like I **have** to do something.

    I am reminding myself that i don't. It's not my job to "fix" him or his life, to make it all smooth, to solve his problems. He is 26 years old, and he needs to take the initiative to solve his own problems. I am reminding myself of my own words: If I step in, I am literally robbing him of the chance to become an adult.

    So, Acacia, the thing is this: We live and we learn, and we stumble, and sometimes we fall flat. It's all okay. It's not about being perfect at this. We are human beings and we love these people. We **want** so badly to believe in something good about them, and support that.

    Support needs to be verbal for a long, long, long time. It doesn't have to mean any kind of money. (You see, I am writing to myself here, but hopefully it will help you as well).

    Sigh. This stuff is so so very hard. I need time and space and distance from my son right now, and so I am taking just that, very kindly, but I'm not reaching out to him at all for a few days. If he reaches out to me, I will keep it very short and kind. No engagement right now.

    I have to get back to level ground. As the hours pass, I am feeling stronger and more centered.

    Please think carefully and slowly about what you want and need. About what works for you and what doesn't. Make any decisions based on that. One of the key principles we have discussed on this site at length is this: We have to have a sanctuary to weather these storms, and that sanctuary is our own home. I do not and cannot imagine my Difficult Child ever coming to live here again. I love him but I don't like his daily lifestyle and I don't want to be subjected to it.

    Keep sharing. We're here for you, through thick and thin. Welcome!
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Acacia and Com, Thank you so much for your posts and honesty. I agree, it is hard, so very hard. Our d cs seem to have a very different way of looking at things.
    We try to help whenever we can,(without enabling) and look for a bright spot indicating change.

    I am sorry for your troubles, COM, it hardly seems fair. I guess the advice to slow...way....down, and really think things out holds true. When we find ourselves thinking more about our d cs problem then they do, a step back is good. Its like an artist working on a huge mural. Up close and personal can draw us in more than we imagined. Taking a breather and stepping back, puts the whole picture into perspective.
    Amen. Thank you COM, this is a good reminder.

    My thoughts are with you both.
    So sorry for your heart ache.
    So sorry for all of our heart aches.
    I think this journey we are on
    ranks right up there with the hardest roads known to man.

    Take care and breathe deep healing breaths.

    Peace to you.

  9. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

  10. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Welcome! Love the FOG acronym...You do sound good. I, too, am in my 60's and son is 39..This summer I developed a health issue related to all the stress and anxiety. My doctor told me plainly and clearly that I needed to let go and stop supporting my son and his girlfriend. The heart issue frightened me enough to make some changes. I realize I am as,addicted to helping him as he is to drugs..
    It is the hardest thing we have ever done.. Sure isn't textbook detachment, like COM says, there is alot of trial and error involved..
    At times we make good progress, occasionally get more involved then run the other way in fear that we will sabotage the progress we've made as well as his.
    I have been trying to ignore the fact that he will be evicted..Because the fear and grief it evokes is overwhelming..Need to save the energy for when it happens.
    So glad you are joining us.
    xox, Carolita

  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    OUCH!! I know exactly how you feel, I've been there.

    Good for you COM. It's such a delicate balancing act with our d-cs and it's good you recognize the need to step away for a while.
  12. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Kalahou and all,
    Thanks for your wisdom. The reason a site like this is so important to me is because I need to hear over and over again the wisdom and empathy of others traveling the path of detachment with love, which keeps me strong and able to follow through. Without that support and with the constant manipulation by son, I slowly weaken and begin to doubt myself. This is not the case in other areas of my life. I have thought about it a lot, and I think what happens is that the culture puts forth an idea that a 'good parent' will do 'anything and every' thing to help their child, when, in fact, doing so with a difficult anti-social child is enabling and fosters the continued bad behavior. Most everything I have given - time, money, etc. - has allowed him to continue on the same wayward path. When I say no or detach, my son uses this to his full advantage to accuse me of not loving him. I know that what I do for my son has nothing to do with how much I love him. What hurts is that he does not see that. I have tremendous compassion for loved ones dealing with such difficulties. One of the most important things I have realized is that I have often betrayed myself because I have not been strong enough to hold boundaries and because I am more worried about his feelings than my own, so in many ways what my son does is less important than how I choose to act or respond to what he says or does. That's my work - to love and care for myself as much as I love him.
    I don't know how often I'll post. Am overwhelmed right now with family issues and teaching high school, but I will read and post when I can.
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Yes, this is a very common reaction from our difficult adult children. Somehow in their minds they equate our love with fixing all their life problems. Of course the "mommy" in us wants to do just that, kiss the boo boo and make it all better. One thing that has really helped me to successfully detach is I had to stop thinking of my 33 year old adult son as my "little boy". In my minds eye I would see him as the sweet little boy that I so much wanted back. I now see the long hair, full beard, wrinkled eyes, adult man that he is.

    I'm so glad you are working on this for yourself. It's ok to take your life back and to do good things for yourself.

    I'm really glad you are here with us.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Koa wahine, fellow sister warrior, you are stronger than you think.
    The elepaio lit upon your branches, then quickly flew off into the forrest.

    You are the sturdiest straight backed tree. Painstakingly shaped into a vessel, beautiful and sure upon the stormy waters. The mighty Steersman guides you safely to the pristine calm beach.

    The builder calls from the shore "Pehea ka wa'a? Ua maika'i ka wa'a? (How is the canoe? Is it good?)

    Akua, your Steersman, responds "Ae, ua maika'i ka wa'a.
    (Yes, the canoe is good.)
    You are the canoe, a vessel on a journey to the zenith.
    You are a kumu, a teacher. The knowledge and gifts you share with your haumana, are sure and true. You are still guided by the traditions and values of old.

    Your son has veered from the course, strayed from your teachings.
    He is a wayward son, for this time, on his own path.

    This has nothing to do with you, or your wisdom, ability and nurturing.

    Our children choosing such paths as adults have strayed from the culture. The culture of Na Aumakua that honors generations past, present and future.

    Until these wayward ones return to their life path chosen by the ancients, it is up to us to keep the light.

    We are not to be blinded and broken by their choice. We are meant to carry the torch, lighting the way, for others coming behind us.

    Live strong and thrive. What you have given, shall be returned to you, in many more ways than imagined.

    Keep the faith Koa wahine, stay the course.
    Keep posting and sharing when you are able.

    Aloha pumehana

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Acacia and Welcome

    I like your user name, but I am very allergic.

    You have been through a lot. You are working hard and doing very well, I think. Try to acknowledge to yourself how much you have changed. You seem, still, hard on yourself.

    It is not easy to handle the older kids' issues, and still raise a younger one. And work, too.

    I know how it is to feel used and disregarded by the child you have always loved.

    I have only one son who is 27.

    My son is doing a little bit better, but our relationship is largely painful and stressful to me. I do not know quite what to do.

    I have pulled way back in terms of help. I really do not want him in my home or my town. Our main contact is phone calls. Mostly from him. Even by phone he acts aggressively towards me and expresses negative opinions about the ethnic group to which I belong. *He is adopted.

    While in my heart I know he loves and respects me, for years now I have felt disrespected and dishonored by him.

    Today I told him that I did not want to hear again any remarks about my ethnic group. He reacted aggressively. I got off the phone and would not answer it when he called back several times.

    I do not know what to do. When you are forced to accept that your relationship with your child is a one way street, what do you do? If you see that there have been years and years of disrespect and meanness, what do you do?

    Do I stop altogether any contact?

    In a million years I would never have guessed I would contemplate such a thing.

    I am wondering if it is correct for a parent to endure mistreatment by an adult child...Is it not irresponsible of the be a target?

    Is that not enabling, too?

    I am glad you are here. You are not alone. Keep posting. It helps.

    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List