Sibling issues

MissLulu

Active Member
I've been thinking a lot about what our family would look like without our Difficult Child. As some of you may have read in my other threads, we've just bought a house for our son to live in. He'll be renting (with a lease through a real estate agent) and I am hopeful that this might work.

However, this is our line in the sand moment - the very last thing we will do to prop him up. We've decided that he can no longer live with us NO MATTER WHAT. So if he abuses this opportunity - doesn't pay rent or fails to maintain the property he will have to leave but he cannot come back here. My husband and I are both united in this point of view. We have set boundaries before and stuck to them. Luckily we are both on the same page where Difficult Child is concerned.

I have been thinking a lot about what might happen if the house doesn't work out. To be honest, I'm at the point where I feel like I could live without having contact with him (although I know my feelings might change if that actually happens). But I've been thinking about how I would explain his absence in our lives to his two younger brothers and what impact it would have on them.

Tonight we were having dinner (Difficult Child wasn't home) and we were talking about what our Middle Child would like to do for his 21st birthday in August. MC made it clear that he would prefer it if his older brother wasn't invited. He said he will invite him if we want him to but it's his preference not to have his brother there.

My younger two kids are pleasant enough to their brother. My youngest (16) seems to get along well with him, but MC really only tolerates him for our sake. The conversation tonight just made me realise how much joy my Difficult Child sucks from our family - not just me and my husband, but his younger brothers too. His whole life he has taken up so much of our time and brain space. Our other two (high achieving, loving, wonderful) boys have always had less of us because we've been dealing with Difficult Child's multiple issues.

It really is time to let our Difficult Child work out his own problems - for all our sakes.
 

louise2350

Active Member
I've been thinking a lot about what our family would look like without our Difficult Child. As some of you may have read in my other threads, we've just bought a house for our son to live in. He'll be renting (with a lease through a real estate agent) and I am hopeful that this might work.

However, this is our line in the sand moment - the very last thing we will do to prop him up. We've decided that he can no longer live with us NO MATTER WHAT. So if he abuses this opportunity - doesn't pay rent or fails to maintain the property he will have to leave but he cannot come back here. My husband and I are both united in this point of view. We have set boundaries before and stuck to them. Luckily we are both on the same page where Difficult Child is concerned.

I have been thinking a lot about what might happen if the house doesn't work out. To be honest, I'm at the point where I feel like I could live without having contact with him (although I know my feelings might change if that actually happens). But I've been thinking about how I would explain his absence in our lives to his two younger brothers and what impact it would have on them.

Tonight we were having dinner (Difficult Child wasn't home) and we were talking about what our Middle Child would like to do for his 21st birthday in August. MC made it clear that he would prefer it if his older brother wasn't invited. He said he will invite him if we want him to but it's his preference not to have his brother there.

My younger two kids are pleasant enough to their brother. My youngest (16) seems to get along well with him, but MC really only tolerates him for our sake. The conversation tonight just made me realise how much joy my Difficult Child sucks from our family - not just me and my husband, but his younger brothers too. His whole life he has taken up so much of our time and brain space. Our other two (high achieving, loving, wonderful) boys have always had less of us because we've been dealing with Difficult Child's multiple issues.

It really is time to let our Difficult Child work out his own problems - for all our sakes.
 

louise2350

Active Member
MissLulu: When my difficult child was living with us the tension was very thick. My Difficult Child is 7 years older than the third (youngest) child and this youngest child was deeply affected by this Difficult Child. The oldest child is year older than the Difficult Child and she was also affected by the tension of having the Difficult Child with us. The oldest once stated to me that I put so much attention into this Difficult Child that she and her youngest sister are pushed aside. I wish I had done things differently but at the time I wasn't getting any support and did my best. The
youngest one would tell me she wanted to live with another family due to all of the commotion going on with this Difficult Child. That statement from my youngest would hurt me but at the same time, I understood. Hope things improve for you and your son does the right thing.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Ah, yes. Siblings.

Without any doubt my two younger kids got much less time, attention and stuff from us because we felt they could do life without it and their sister could not.

What a mistake!

I have two wonderful kids who had to play sports sometimes while we sat at home placating Kay and dealing with her problems. They saw holidays where Kay and her mouth ruined it for the entire family. She even got aggressive a few times at holidays. Kay's behavior was so unpredictable that every event we all prayed and walked on eggshells. She was the elephant in the room.

I have very forgiving younger children, but they will never be left out again. And I have apologized to both and with hugs and tears and thankfully we are all good. I really had been do wrapped up in Kay's drama that the others were left behind.

None of us like being punished for behaving well, being kind, doing life right and not causing trouble. But often our troubled family members steal all the attention from us. I am sad today that it was like this in our family. My husband did it too.

My two cents is maybe allow the sibs space from difficult family member and no longer slight them for being good adults. That will never happen in our family again. I don't think my younger kids want to include Kay in their lives and I won't suggest they do. She has taken so much from us already. My other two can decide without our input if they want Kay around for their family milestones.

Sending prayers and hugs. Be well in body and spirit.
 

Overwhelmed1

Well-Known Member
When I look back I can see where I should have made different decisions when trouble started brewing.
At the time however, I found myself focused on the issues at hand not contemplating all the effects my decisions may cause in the future.
I believe most people react that way in the moment.
I have a friend and our kids were friends. My friends outlook was so different from mine when it came to the kids. She was so much more strict and did many things for herself that did not involve her girls.
I on the other hand, I was all about family and my kids. What I did, they were involved in.
In the end we both had difficult children to deal with. In the end I think sometimes it just in the DNA.
Don't look back, look forward. Enjoy the children that enjoy you and bring you joy. You will always love all of them but when the Difficult Child concludes that he or she can have the same relationship as you and the other kids have if they are enjoyable and not difficult, maybe they will come around.
I am not the best person to be giving advice seeing how both my kids are difficult but I do hate to see you feeling down.
I wish all the wonderful people here could get their hearts to stop hurting. I believe we think we have to hurt too because someone we love so much has chosen to make their lives miserable.
Wouldn't it be awesome if we could all take our own advice we heartwarmingly share with each other.
It's our loving hearts that make it so hard for us to see others hurt and it is 10 fold for our children.
Please have yourself a good day and focus on all the good you have done.
You deserve that...

I hope I am not out of line saying these things.

Peace and Love
 

Blindsided

Face the Sun
He'll be renting (with a lease through a real estate agent) and I am hopeful that this might work.

However, this is our line in the sand moment - the very last thing we will do to prop him up.

We have set boundaries before and stuck to them.

I have been thinking a lot about what might happen if the house doesn't work out.

MC made it clear that he would prefer it if his older brother wasn't invited.

The conversation tonight just made me realise how much joy my Difficult Child sucks from our family - not just me and my husband, but his younger brothers too. His whole life he has taken up so much of our time and brain space.

It really is time to let our Difficult Child work out his own problems - for all our sakes.
Lulu, I hear resolve in your words. I get it. I find It helps me see the reality of my Difficult Child daughters behaviors through the eyes of others. My energy is exhausted by worry and unrealistic thoughts. It is better spent on positive interactions with the others who respect me.

You are right to consider this arrangement may fail, I hope not. But, that is a realistic consideration.

I worried about detachment, what if??? I saw it as "tough love" difficult to do. But, all we asking our adult DCs to do is be responsible for their actions and choices. Someone here told me she thinks disentanglement is a better word, and I agree.

Learning as much as I can about the behaviors of my Difficult Child by reading, therapy, and through what is shared here is my bedrock. I feel better prepare for battle that may ensue within me or my Difficult Child relationship. Much of what I have learned has helped in my other relationships too.

I am glad to hear the resolve. We cant know how anything will unfold, so all we can do is set enforceable boundaries and detach emotionally. It's not complicated. All we are asking from ourselves is to see each event logically and deal with it as any other reasonable person would do after making the boundaries clear to our Difficult Child, which you have done.

"Every good thing that has happened in your life happened because something changed. —ANDY ANDREWS"
From my book by Hoda Lotb, I Really Needed This Today.
 

Blindsided

Face the Sun
Lulu, I hear resolve in your words. I get it. I find It helps me see the reality of my Difficult Child daughters behaviors through the eyes of others. My energy is exhausted by worry and unrealistic thoughts. It is better spent on positive interactions with the others who respect me.

You are right to consider this arrangement may fail, I hope not. But, that is a realistic consideration.

I worried about detachment, what if??? I saw it as "tough love" difficult to do. But, all we asking our adult DCs to do is be responsible for their actions and choices. Someone here told me she thinks disentanglement is a better word, and I agree.

Learning as much as I can about the behaviors of my Difficult Child by reading, therapy, and through what is shared here is my bedrock. I feel better prepare for battle that may ensue within me or my Difficult Child relationship. Much of what I have learned has helped in my other relationships too.

I am glad to hear the resolve. We cant know how anything will unfold, so all we can do is set enforceable boundaries and detach emotionally. It's not complicated. All we are asking from ourselves is to see each event logically and deal with it as any other reasonable person would do after making the boundaries clear to our Difficult Child, which you have done.

"Every good thing that has happened in your life happened because something changed. —ANDY ANDREWS"
From my book by Hoda Kotb, I Really Needed This Today.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Oh, yes! Nothing changes if nothing changes! So true.

We want our kids to change for the better, but often it is hard for us to make OUR lives better!

We can change. They can change. But BOTH of us have to realize that our lives are not happy and that we MUST change, and then both of us have to do the hard work to change. Not just them, us too. We may not be homeless or doing illegal acts, but we allow our thoughts to flood our brain with negative, scary thoughts and we don't try to find tools to stop those thoughts so that we can be more productive. Happier. Even happy.

We are not so different from our kids yet often we demand they change while we do not.

These are just my two cents that popped into my head as I read the excellent feedback of others! Be well! Care about yourself.
 

JMom

Well-Known Member
Lx,

I too have been shocked when one of my daughters asked "why can't you just keep him away from us?" Ugh. My heart sank. I think we have all looked back and said oh crap when we realized the others had been left to fend for themselves.

I think it is VERY healthy for MC to request a birthday without Difficult Child. He is practicing self-care by detaching and attempting to create the boundary. MC deserves a peaceful birthday and I'd give it to him.

Sorry you are having to balance everything, It is hard. It is painful, but I think you are doing great, Hang in there!

Jmom
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I agree with the others.

I think we all need to give ourselves a pat on OUR OWN back! We have done/are doing the best that we can and the best that we know how to do. We found this forum only because WE were looking for answers. WE were looking for a better way, the missing link...

It was so hard for me when our son was young. I remember my sister saying that sometimes the ones that are the hardest to love are the ones that need it the most.

I wish I could unhear that.
 

MissLulu

Active Member
MissLulu: When my difficult child was living with us the tension was very thick. My Difficult Child is 7 years older than the third (youngest) child and this youngest child was deeply affected by this Difficult Child. The oldest child is year older than the Difficult Child and she was also affected by the tension of having the Difficult Child with us. The oldest once stated to me that I put so much attention into this Difficult Child that she and her youngest sister are pushed aside. I wish I had done things differently but at the time I wasn't getting any support and did my best. The
youngest one would tell me she wanted to live with another family due to all of the commotion going on with this Difficult Child. That statement from my youngest would hurt me but at the same time, I understood. Hope things improve for you and your son does the right thing.
Thanks so much, Louise. I'm signing the contract on the new house today. We settle in 45 days, so hopefully things will improve after that. With my son, he is okay 70% of the time, which probably seems not too bad. But we still live with the tension of not knowing when the next crisis will come and that has become unbearable to me. I honestly think it will be better for all of us when he's out of the house. I know it won't solve his problems, but hopefully it will solve some of mine!
 

MissLulu

Active Member
Lx,

I too have been shocked when one of my daughters asked "why can't you just keep him away from us?" Ugh. My heart sank. I think we have all looked back and said oh crap when we realized the others had been left to fend for themselves.

I think it is VERY healthy for MC to request a birthday without Difficult Child. He is practicing self-care by detaching and attempting to create the boundary. MC deserves a peaceful birthday and I'd give it to him.

Sorry you are having to balance everything, It is hard. It is painful, but I think you are doing great, Hang in there!

Jmom
Jmom, you are so right about my MC. We have talked to him quite al to about how his brother's problems are not his problems and that we don't expect him to put up with bad treatment or to have a relationship with his brother if he prefers not to. He is conciliatory by nature, and likes us to be happy, so he is civil to his brother, but isn't close to him. It helps that MC doesn't live with us. He's 20 and at university in our state's capital city (about an hour and half from where we live). He does come home one night most weekends as he has a p/t job at a restaurant in our town, but he spends most of his time in the city. He really has nothing in common with his older brother and once Difficult Child moves out, I don't think they will see much of each other.

My youngest child is a different story. He's also a good kid and sweet by nature. He loves his oldest brother and gets on well with him, which makes Difficult Child's behaviour even harder for him to understand. I'm always concerned about the impact of Difficult Child's behaviour on him. for instance, if Difficult Child were to end up in jail I think YC would be absolutely devastated, whereas MC would be sad for his father and me, but wouldn't be terribly affected himself. (I think!)) Anyway, I'll face up to that IF it happens. Right now i need to focus on getting through the next few weeks until the house settlement.
 

MissLulu

Active Member
Lulu, I hear resolve in your words. I get it. I find It helps me see the reality of my Difficult Child daughters behaviors through the eyes of others. My energy is exhausted by worry and unrealistic thoughts. It is better spent on positive interactions with the others who respect me.

You are right to consider this arrangement may fail, I hope not. But, that is a realistic consideration.

I worried about detachment, what if??? I saw it as "tough love" difficult to do. But, all we asking our adult DCs to do is be responsible for their actions and choices. Someone here told me she thinks disentanglement is a better word, and I agree.

Learning as much as I can about the behaviors of my Difficult Child by reading, therapy, and through what is shared here is my bedrock. I feel better prepare for battle that may ensue within me or my Difficult Child relationship. Much of what I have learned has helped in my other relationships too.

I am glad to hear the resolve. We cant know how anything will unfold, so all we can do is set enforceable boundaries and detach emotionally. It's not complicated. All we are asking from ourselves is to see each event logically and deal with it as any other reasonable person would do after making the boundaries clear to our Difficult Child, which you have done.

"Every good thing that has happened in your life happened because something changed. —ANDY ANDREWS"
From my book by Hoda Lotb, I Really Needed This Today.
Thanks, Blindsided, for your kind words.

Disentanglement - yes exactly. This is what I seek. I no longer wish to be enmeshed in my Difficult Child's chaos. Part of my problem is fear and rumination. I'm constantly worried about what's coming next. If my Difficult Child is anything less than happy I fear that a 'meltdown' is coming or that there is something he is not telling us - job loss, legal problems or ??? Like many of our kids, my Difficult Child lies. I never really know what is actually going on with him and so I let my imagination take over. I don't want this for myself anymore.

If he's not living in my house, I know I will still worry. However, I think the worry will be less pronounced and less specific. Hopefully in time I will learn to focus less on him.

This is a terrible thing to say but here goes: I love my child deeply, but there's a lot about him I don't like and I'm happier when I'm away from him.
 

Blindsided

Face the Sun
Hopefully in time I will learn to focus less on him.

This is a terrible thing to say but here goes: I love my child deeply, but there's a lot about him I don't like and I'm happier when I'm away from him.
Yes, time helps and so does practice. When I start to go there, I ask myself, is that reality? Is that a place I want to visit on a regular basis? Then I will myself to let go, to accept that my daughter has to want for herself.

It is a reasonable not to like these destructive behaviors our DCs display.

Love and light
 
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