Questioning self

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Seeking Peace, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I have started to really question myself yesterday...maybe I AM to blame for how my Difficult Child is. Maybe I HAVE caused all this. Maybe it's really been me all along.....I just have to wonder.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are not to blame. You are not 100% of his DNA or 100% of his environment. He has a bio. father, peers, teachers and others in his life. Unless you beat him up every day or, if he's on drugs, forced him at gunpoint to use drugs, how is it your fault if an adult child of yours made bad choices, in spite of his upbringing? Please do not think this way. Our kids are a product of genetics and their total environment and their experiences that we had NO control over.

    Once a young person turns eighteen we have legally no control and their choices are on their shoulders and we can't help them if they don't want help. I am positive you did EVERYTHING you could, if not MORE than most would. Most of us here have gone over the top to help our difficult kids and are wonderful people and good parents too.

    Our adult children are responsible for how they behave, not anyone else. Please stop torturing did not teach him to do these things. He knows better and is choosing to ignore what he knows.
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  3. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I keep telling myself those things too...

    I think it's cause I see her wanting to connect more with us at times, and being on constant guard and really negative outlook towards her. That's what makes me feel guilty. As if maybe my attitude towards her and the behavior across the years has unfortunately shaped her into the person she is today.

    I know I've done everything in my power, and yes, then some. It's still hard not to reflect internally and question all the years when I did have my hands fully in her life.

    Compounded by her being homeless and the holidays
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Seeking Peace, I could have written your posts.

    The thing is, we can only do as good as we know at the time. When we know better, can do better, we do.

    That does not take away their responsibility, that we might have done better. It is not 100 percent us, 0 percent them.

    I am tired now but will try to visit your thread again. I have lots to say but no energy to say it.

    Try to take care of yourself. I am on constant guard too. On the phone, even. I defend myself from attack. I have no joy talking to him. It is pure defense. Somebody could say it is rejecting. When the calls go bad, I get sick and depressed for a few days. I do not know what to say. When do we count?

  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I do not believe that one's life can be shaped by one person. I think our children had and still have a range of choices.

    I think that we took too much responsibility and continue to do so. Our children want to continue this pattern instead of going and establishing their own lives, apart from us. Maybe I created this pattern, laid it out for him and he molded himself to it. But it is not too late to change. Not for me or for him. People learn and change course. It is possible. That we have decided to change does not make us responsible one hundred percent for what came before. It is a dance.

    We are doing the best we can. This is real life. Not dress rehearsal. I forgive myself. Try to forgive yourself, too.

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    "Fault" is part of the FOG - fear, obligation, guilt. We need to get out of the fog.

    I did things that negatively impacted my kids. I think every parent does. The difference lies in some combination of genetics - inborn nature and health issues - and environment, and as SWOT said, we are not in control of the environment. We contribute to it. But even if we could have been the "perfect parent", the outcome would likely have been similar.

    We do the best we can with what we know... and when we know better, we do better. (forget who's quote that is, and it's not word-for-word)
  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I think we all go down this road SP, I know I do. There are times when I start examining everything, trying to find rationale for this mess. The thing is, my girls started acting out around middle school. I have tons of photo albums with happy times and smiling faces. The trouble really began when they chose the wrong friends, started smoking pot, and eventually moved on to other substances. We could not be there for them 24/7, they had to learn to make good choices.

    I agree.

    I feel the same with my two d c's. It is because of all of the history we have, Comes a point, when it is hard to believe anything. This is not our fault. It is a part of the paths our d cs have been on.
    For me, this is a consequence of the many times I have bent over backwards to help, been lied to and manipulated by an unappreciative d c.
    They would have me believe it is all my fault, it keeps us enabling, the guilt. Guilt becomes an ace for our d cs, and they will throw that card down every chance they get.
    I agree completely. This takes its toll on us. Never did we think that things would be this way.
    I think you are being way too hard on yourself SP.
    Again, you are being way to hard on yourself.
    But,this is understandable, it is a part of the process of grieving over our d cs. It is called bargaining. "If only I did this, or didn't do this....."
    How is your relationship with your 13 year old? I have two d cs/ plus two gracious adult kids, one 14 year old, our relationship is wonderful. These kids tell me, "Mom, they just try to blame you for everything, so they can continue to do what they do."
    I know this feeling.
    It is horrible, but it is also a consequence of my daughters choices.
    Definitely solid advice.
    Me, too.
    I believe this to be true.
    Every one of us makes mistakes SP. Try to take some deep breaths and be very good to yourself. This is all so stressful and tiring. On top of it, caring for our families and younger children. It is huge. I hope you are able to relax, slow down and find the peace you are seeking.

    I hope we all are.

    Take care
  8. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Let me just say bullshit. Are any of us hear perfect parents? No, we are human and therefore make mistakes. Every difficult child on this planet, even those that may have been beaten CHOSE the lifestyle they are in right now. I've seen too many people who had crappy parents turn out just fine and too many people who have good parents and were given EVERY chance become career criminals.

    Free will. Those eight letters sum it up. No matter what your genetics, no matter what your upbringing, YOU have the choice to make your life better or worse. Is the child of an alcoholic more likely to become an alcoholic? Yes, but not until THEY CHOOSE to pick up that first drink.

    We are influenced by conditioning from piers and family but in the end, it comes down to those two little words. Free will.
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  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Seeking Peace, NO, it is not your fault!!

    Jabber is so right!!
    My bio-father was very abusive to me and my sisters, physically and sexually. Statistics say that I and my sisters should have ended up in an abusive relationships or become a drug addicted prostitutes. That did not happen. Don't get me wrong, we each have dealt with issues of what bio-father did but we also realized that we had a CHOICE as to how we would live our lives. We are all very successful and live responsible good lives. We each made a choice to not stay stuck in the "victim mode"

    Please do not be so hard on yourself.

  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Tanya, you have been through so much.....thank you for your incredible honesty in sharing your trials, and for your bright, amazing, shining light star.
    We have probably all at one time or another questioned ourselves,
    these warrior parents are correct Seeking Peace,
    it is all about CHOICE.

    (((HUGS))) to you and everyone.
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with everyone else. YOU are not the cause of your child's problems.

    Believe me when I say I have had these thoughts. I wondered - and Jabber will confirm - that I still wonder sometimes what I could have done differently. Should I have been harder on him? Should we have moved to a different town? Should I have kept him in counseling? Should I have been easier on him? Should we have taken him more places? We took a couple of vacations without him...maybe instead we should have taken him to Arkansas to dig for diamonds like he always wanted. We told him we would...never did. Maybe we should have taken him to Disneyland? Maybe we should have made him stay in sports, even though he didn't like them? Maybe Jabber and I were too much into each other and not enough into him? Maybe we should have spent more time with Jabber's family? Maybe we should have gotten a church to go to? Maybe I should have bad-mouthed his biodad, instead of being kind and doing what I think good parents do...NOT speak ill of the other?

    But if we'd been tougher, maybe he'd be worse? If we'd cut off allowances, maybe he'd have been worse? If we'd given him more - maybe he'd expect more now...though he seems entitled already. Maybe, maybe, maybe. You can drive yourself crazy.

    I love my son, but there are many times I don't like him. He's VERY much like his biodad...who he never laid eyes on after he was 5 and who died when he was 7. But even his girlfriend said to me, "You guys are so NORMAL. What happened to him?"

    What happened is a combination of genetics and bad choices.

    This is the killer for me SP. When he seems to be trying. When he says he wants to spend time with us. When he acts like he wants a better relationship. I want that too. I want it so bad I can taste it. But there's always the reserve...the waiting for something to happen to screw it up, the waiting for him to ask for a favor...because usually it's not wanting to spend time with us, it's buttering us up for the next request.

    I hope the day comes for all of us that our children and we connect like typical families. But hope is all there really is. We're not there yet.
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  12. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I've wanted to respond all day! First, to thank every single one of you for being here on this forum!! I harbored these feeling for days before putting it out here. And I felt if I could just put out here, all of you would help me. And you did and have in so many ways.

    I've never admitted my resentment or being so guarded any other place than here because I've always felt like I would be judged as a mother. God knows I have been repeatedly by others. But it's different here because all of you are on the same road as I am.

    I truly use to believe environment shaped an individual more than genetics. That given the opportunity people can really succeed. And I would imagine this to still be true in some cases. But then my daughter really started showing disturbing behaviors that could not be explained. The older she became the worse things turned till finally I was staring at my ex, her bio-dad. That is when it was really in my face. A child who's bio-dad has not been there since age 2, but she was exhibiting the same behaviors. Then, by that time, I had my son, who raised in the same environment was (is) so compassionate and loving.

    Those who asked how he is; he is wonderful. Super smart, athletic and kind and gentle. I call him my little Labrador. The last time my daughter was home (February) he even asked us point blank why we tolerate it? That she had no respect for us. And while we know that, it really strikes a cord when your 13 year old feels the need to question. Fear of him losing his way and acting out since he saw us excusing daughter's behavior and him deserving a safe home where he can rest without all the drama, made us draw a line for the last time.

    She has bounced from home to home...and maybe because it looks like places have really ran out now is why I feel so down and guilty. Her officially being on the street is a first for me. I know many of you have crossed this bridge too, and I cannot imagine it ever gets easier....
  13. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    And now she's on the attack again. Telling me how she's always felt I gave up on her and always was trying to pawn her off. That my guilt today is karma. Not good timing for that sort of attack
  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This has been very hard for me too. I started seeing biodad in my son age 3. He would be in trouble and you'd be yelling at him or scolding him and he'd get this little smile on his face...EXACTLY what his biodad would do when he and I would fight. There were so many traits that surfaced over the years. His biodad was moody and while he didn't have my son's temper, he did occasionally blow HARD. He once broke the windshield to my car while having a melt-down over some fight - I don't even remember what it was about.

    We warned him over and over about drinking because biodad was an alcoholic. We never even thought about pot and other substances. We thought we'd raised him better. Silly us.

    Oh hun. First, NEVER tell her if you're feeling guilty. That's just ammunition. Hang in there. You clearly STILL haven't given up on her. If she has felt that way, that is HER guilt talking.

  15. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    Sadly, I never told her I felt guilty. Just that all of us must live with the consequences of our choices. Crushes me how she attacks so hatefully. I really feel in her mind, she believes all this to be true.
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    SP, my two do the same to me. They have this sick need to drag me down. I think it is because they don't want to focus on their own behavior. It is easier to blame us for everything. I know they know it is wrong. Even if your girl may feel it's true, on drugs, she is not in her right mind. It is hard when d c's have such venom. It hurts to the core. It is a part of the manipulation. It is akin to domestic violence/verbal and emotional abuse. Not our partner, our kid.
    Have you seen a counselor, or been to any meetings? It is helpful to learn as much as you can to be able to rebuild yourself.
    You matter, and so does your son. He sounds just like my boy, he said the exact same thing " Why do we put up with this stuff mom?" I finally realized that my sweet, sensitive puppy dog 14 year old son was waiting his whole life on the sidelines while we struggled with his sisters and our grands. Enough was enough. I am focusing on him, my hubs,and me.
    My two, are adults and will make their own choices. If they continue to try to manipulate and con me into feeling guilty, I will limit contact. I do not need the drama, my son deserves to have peace at home, we all do.
    Your daughter will be okay. Mine is out there too. They are survivors.
    They do not get well at home, they get worse.
    Take care SP focus on yourself and your sweet boy.

  17. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I have been seeing a therapist the last 2 years. Trying to cope with the immense heartbreak. Crazy how just Saturday she came by and helped decorate the tree....

    Guessing cause her places to land have ran out, she's angry at me once again "as I'm to blame for how things are". Just hate it's cold and the holidays
  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It's good you have been working with a therapist. Yes, it is immense heartbreak for sure. There were times I didn't think I could take one more heartbreak from my son but I did. I survived all the heartbreak and you will too.

    It's so easy for our d-cs to blame us for everything bad in their lives. They have always counted on us to make everything okay for them but the time comes when we can't do that for them anymore and they get angry.
    It's not our responsibility to make everything okay for them any more, they need to learn how to do this for themselves.

    Hang in there Seeking! You will get through this and you get to a place of Peace.

    ((HUGS)) to you my friend.
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  19. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I have been there too, many times. I think for me it is a very seductive idea, to imagine I could still wield that kind of influence, like I did when my children were small.

    And maybe I *AM* to blame, maybe I *HAVE* caused things.

    Boy, I sure did some messed up things when my kids were young.

    But wait -- I did those things to BOTH of my kids, and one of them is doing great.

    And my husband's could tell you some stories. And he turned out fine.

    Oh -- and MY parents! Definitely worse things in my childhood, but I didn't go off the rails, nor do I feel any anger or bitterness toward them. If they had ever once expressed guilt or regret for their parenting, I would have quashed it, quickly and definitively. They did the best they could.

    I think as parents we are so desperate to know WHY things are the way they are that we are willing to take it all on ourselves, just to try to make sense of it. We do not have that kind of power over anyone's life, as much as we think we would want to.
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I thnk we believe deep inside of ourselves, that if we take responsibility, even blame, our children may right themselves. If we face that this is magical thinking, we lose any semblance of control. Even a false sense of control. No control feels unbearable until we are strong enough to tolerate it.

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