Our difficult child is thirty-one now ~ soon to be thirty-two. I was reading through RM's and hearthope's posts this morning, and remembering back to what it felt like to parent difficult child as an adolescent and then, as a young adult and now....

What is there to say about all this, now.

The thing I wanted to say this morning has to do with acknowledging the shame I felt, going through this.

I never even questioned it. I had failed, and I didn't know why. I felt stupid and ineffectual and...goofy.

And it is really only now, as I begin to recover some concept of self, that I realize how traumatic this has all been.

For years and years, every minute, every day and every night.

I wonder how much worse it would all have been without the Serenity Prayer?

I remember all those long nights when that was all I had.

I have come through this far enough to see where I have been. Each of you will come through it, too.

I suffered, as you are suffering now.

I am not saying I would have given up sooner, or accepted things sooner, or that I would have done one thing differently than I did.

What I am saying is that before we can heal from it, we need to be able to say those words so that we can move beyond that place.

It really is shocking to see the difference, in both husband and myself, since difficult child has not lived here at home for over a year, now.

And since we have made the decision to "let that pony ride".

Wasn't it you, Ponygirl, who came up with that phrase?

Let that pony ride....

Barbara, your words are so effective.

I still feel shame from time to time. I was on both sides of the coin.

I struggled with drug addiction through most of difficult child 1's life. The guilt of not being there for her has sometimes been crippling. Then, right about the time I got clean, she went from easy child to difficult child. Imagine her rebellion when suddenly I was capable of acting like a parent.

Then she turned 18. Yeah, I let that pony ride.

Hopefully, I will not make the same mistakes with difficult child 2.

Thanks for sharing that, Barbara.


New Member
I can't say I feel shame, but I do feel horrendous guilt. I don't know what more I could have done but some how, some way, I couldn't convince my child I loved her enough. Maybe I was fortunate that she was adopted and I have a built-in excuse. The damage was done before she became mine. So, when she does something unacceptable to society I just point to her past and cry for her. I think this has made the serenity prayer useless to me as a tool for her behavior today. I've always accepted that there were aspects of her personality and behavior that I had no way to guide nor help.

Having said that, I can't help but believe that had I taken more time to be there for her and less time to have a career that maybe, just maybe, she'd be happier today, have better self-esteem, understand that there is nothing more important to me than her. The total rejection of my love is painful. To think that I caused this rejection is even more painful. So, no shame, but a lot of guilt.


New Member
Barbara your post reminds me of the journey.

I am working, the school calls and tells me your son left campus. He didn't sneak off, she was standing there telling him to go to class and he continued to walk off.

There was disbelief. How could MY son act this way?

Shame. They must think I am a horrible mother.

Then it became a never ending process. Each agency I sought out for help, I had to start at the beginning and recount all the terrible things my son had done. Then I was questioned about each response I made when he did these things.

I remember each time saying to myself this is not my fault. I am going to be strong this time. I did the best I could.
I remember being knocked down each time and feeling like a worthless mom that ruined her child.

After so much exposure of raw nerves, it is a wonder I survived.

I have also had the chance to see the other side now.

My easy child is at the doorstep of her future, she was being smothered by her bro. She still has issues and is working it out in therapy, but she views her home as her safe haven. She needed that and had lived without it so long.

husband and I are closer than we have been in yrs. I was on the verge of divorce and since difficult child is no longer here it is wonderful.

I didn't realize the severity of the destruction difficult child was causing within our home.

I almost allowed him to destroy our family. We all were right at our breaking points.

I only feel those shameful feelings ocassionally now, like the graduation. I have learned to hold my head up and continue on. I have a wonderful husband that has stood by me in my darkest hours. I have a wonderful easy child that will graduate next yr and begin her journey in life. We all love difficult child and pray for change but we all know that it is his decision to make to change


New Member
When difficult child went from juvie to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I remember sitting at a table with his doctors and telling the story AGAIN of everything I had been through with him up to that point. When I had finished answering all of their questions I felt the same old guilt and thought, once again, that they were probably all thinking what a terrible mother I was. One of the doctors looked at me and said "you're a good mom" and I just lost it, couldn't stop crying. I felt such horrible guilt and through all of this no one had ever told me a I was a good mother.


New Member
The only thing I really feel guilty about is what I feel I allowed difficult child to do to easy child. She still holds a lot of resentment and sometimes when she comes out with things I begin to stick up for difficult child, because he's doing so well not, but I have to remember she has a right to her feelings and she needs to deal with them in her own way.

Here was a 15 year old at the time he was still living home, going to school like she was supposed too, babysitting and being more responsible then any 15 year old I knew, and he was stealing from her left and right. She would babysit, leave her money in her room, get in the shower the next morning and go back to her room to find her money missing. I was so wrapped up in difficult child at the time, that it wasnt' my biggest concern. I never saw him do it, of course he would deny it and make me wonder if she misplaced the money and I would end up paying her back. I think that always made her more angry then anything, that I would pay her back and it would cost me yet again!!

She is 17 now and the other day I was telling her about how he owed one of his roomates in the soberhouse money and the day after he paid him the kid relapsed. difficult child was so mad that he lost that money to someone who went out and spent it on drugs and my easy child's reaction was "good, now he knows what it feels like". He hasn't lived here in almost 2 years and hasn't stolen from her in almost 2 years, and I was surprised to see how much it still effects her.

I don't feel anything I did, or didn't do, as a parent made my son a drug addict, but I do wish I had learned to protect my easy child daughter from him sooner then I did.

sameold sameold

New Member
I guess what I feel is guilt and sometimes a failure as a mom. difficult child has been gone from home for almost 7 months now. He is doing remarkably well and has made some great strides. What if we had sold our house sooner and moved closer to civilation when he were younger. What if husband had a normal job and were home more in those early years, what if I had had more patience, could he have possbily made these gains when he were with us? And could he still be here? Could he possibly be able to be on his own? Would he not have become suicidal if I had been different?? I guess we will never have the answers to these questions and I try not to dwell on the past and just look to the future and be happy for where he is today.


I feel the same way you do--my only regret is not protecting difficult child 2 from difficult child 1 and basically ignoring easy child son. I didn't know the extent of the abuse but I did know that difficult child 1 could be horribly mean to difficult child 2 and also knew of the stealing.

My easy child son is older than difficult child 2 so he was better able to protect himself and to understand, yet he too got left to fend for himself. I remember him telling me one day that ever since his dad died (he was 12) he has felt alone. He felt that he couldn't come to me with any problems because Emily was so much work. He basically stayed in his room and kept to himself when he was a teen and I let him because it was easier to not deal with him.

So, if I could do things over I would really try not to let difficult child 1 overtake the whole family with her gfgness and not devote myself so much to her and her problems. I think I could have done much less to help her and she would not have suffered! I really had blinders on, thought I could fix her, I guess. Molly saw through her so much earlier than I did, caused a lot of resentment.

I think the best thing I did to help difficult child 1 was to kick her out and make her learn to fend for herself. It was also the best thing for the rest of the family. We like living with less drama and chaos in our lives!



Well-Known Member
"I don't feel anything I did, or didn't do, as a parent made my son a drug addict, but I do wish I had learned to protect my easy child daughter from him sooner then I did."

Amen and Amen!


New Member
I tried to protect my easy child's from my difficult child's but could not. I don't think it is completly possible. No matter what we do as parents of difficult child's our easy child's are going to have some negative impacts. If we sent our difficult child's away, PCs might morn the loss of a sibling. If we keep our difficult children in our home and deal with the issues as best we can, our easy child's will have different issues. It truly is a loose loose situation. We did the very best we could do. We all need to let go of our guilt. Guilt which lasts beyond its real purpose of driving us to do the right thing, is unhealthy and useless. I feel sad that my easy child's were affected by difficult child's actions but I no longer feel guilty about it. each of my easy child's and difficult child's were offered counciling to help deal with the many issues that came up over the years. They mostly chose not to go. My ultimate goal for my family was to be a happy healthy functioning unit. I worked hard and made many sacrifices toward that end. Unfortunately it didn't come to full fruitation.
But I did learn something from it all. If we acknowledge that we could not control our difficult child's then we also have to acknowledge that we could not control their effects on others. -RM


New Member
If we acknowlege that we can't control our difficult children then we also have to acknowledge that we could not control their effects on others.

Very well put. I think with people outside the family I realized that, but thought I failed easy child when she was hurt by him.

It is a very true statement


Active Member
I too feel shame that my son is a totally irresponsible young man, soon to be 22. He has a beautiful son that he sees sporadically, doesn't support and actually is a poor example for his infant son.

I also feel guilt but truly don't know what else I could have done. We tried every agency, counselor, medication, hospitalization, jail, Residential Treatment Center (RTC), etc...

I came to this site in 2001 - over 6 years ago. The consequences increase as our kids get older, unfortunately.