Slowly Breaking Me Down

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Ca Mom Losing Hope, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Like MWM said so well above, Aud, you first make a decision.

    You decide to reclaim your own life. It does not mean you love your adult children any less. It just means you are choosing to love yourself as much.

    This is likely a decision you will have to reaffirm over and over again as you work on yourself.

    And realizing that we and our adult children are Two. Separate. People.

    With separate bodies, souls and hearts, and separate lives. Separate choices. Separate decisions. Separate consequences.

    It has helped me to compare my and my parents' relationship....with my and my son's relationship. My parents are 81 years old. They are good, caring people. I love them very much.

    But they are not part of my everyday life. I talk to them about once a week. They live in another state. We care about each other but they make their own decisions and live their own lives and so do I.

    This is how it needs to be with my difficult child son and myself. He is 25 years old. He should not be enmeshed with me and my life, and I should not be enmeshed with him and his life.

    Keep working, Aud. Keep talking, Keep asking questions. This is the step by step process---our journeys---that we must travel in order to get back to where we need to be.
     
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  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    As I have been away for awhile, I reread this thread. For each of us, recovery begins with self kindness, and with self compassion. If you listen to your self talk, the shocking negativity there will stun you. To consciously counter the negativity will feel like a breath, will feel like, all at once, you can breathe freely.

    I think it has much to do with forgiving ourselves.

    Ouch, MWM.

    I'm so sorry this happened to you.

    One of the moms here just went through that, CaMom. She prepared as best she knew...and she got through it in that horrific, slowed time place we live in when there is trouble. For moms like us, there is no bright new morning. There is the intention to change our situations, and there is hard choice. And when the thing is done, there is only the dark. There is wondering where they went and if they're okay and how we ever convinced ourselves we were doing a right thing. But then...we learn that not only did our child survive, but he is treating us just a little differently.

    We have reclaimed our power, to a degree.

    This is where the strength comes from to take it all one step further.

    I'm sorry this is happening, CaMom.

    With kids like ours, we need to learn to parent differently. Those old, loving patterns are not helping our kids step into adulthood. Those old patterns are keeping them whining children, are turning us into some twisted version of a mother that we never would have accepted or allowed ourselves to become, in healthier times.

    Understanding and changing the patterns we fall into naturally enough when our kids are going a wrong way is not easy, CaMom, but it's possible.
    We got where we are by degrees. We will find ourselves in a healthier place one day, and that healing will happen in degrees, too.

    Little, tiny steps to a better, saner perspective.

    That's all this is, really.

    Understanding and changing habitual ways of seeing and responding to our difficult child kids. Typical responses don't work with our difficult children. They get further and further into the whirlwind and we are sucked right down into it with them.

    There is something different about our troubled kids, CaMom. They seem to love riding the far edge, out where it's dangerous. They seem to find violent interpersonal relationships enlivening. They hate rules. Techniques that should address and resolve whatever the heart of the problem is only exacerbate the problem with these kids we love so much it drives us crazy. But...we worry. Over time, we forget how chaotic life with them was.

    All we remember is that trapped, panicky, worried feeling.

    That is where we need to work to change our responses.

    What we need to learn to do is to choose, ahead of time, what our reaction will be. If we need to post a picture of a young soldier beside the phone to remind us our child is a man, not a boy...then, that is what we do. If we need to post the exact words we are going to say right beside that picture?

    Then we do that, too.

    It is such a hard thing to go against the grain of the love we feel for our kids. And though it seems impossible to act correctly in the face of that worried, responsible feeling...that is what we have to learn to do, too.

    We need to learn to sit with that worried feeling. We need to learn to stop condemning ourselves for where our adult kids are in life. We need to extend mercy and forgiveness, to them and to ourselves.

    And if that seems impossible, then we need to set that intention.

    Mercy and forgiveness, for ourselves and for them.

    They are doing what they want to do, CaMom. They are not little babies in danger. They are adult men and women choosing how they will live their lives and we need to learn to let them do that.

    Each of the parents here will have a different definition for the way we have had to learn to parent our difficult kids. There are those who claim it is easy to turn away. I seem not to be able to do that. But what I can do is understand my own part in creating dependent adult kids.

    Once I can see it, I can choose to stop my part in the vicious set of patterns that developed in my family.

    That is what it comes down to, really.

    If we can see the pattern, and if we can see the harm in it for our failure-to-launch (to say the least) :O) kids...then we can choose to change our behavior.

    And then, the pattern will change.

    And maybe, without us there buying the appearance of success for them, the kids will begin steering their lives more responsibly.

    It is all about how we think of it, CaMom.

    Posting here is the best way I know to keep myself honest in my interactions with my difficult children. It isn't about them, really. It's about me, about how I see them and myself.

    Try not to be so hard on yourself. (I know you are, CaMom. I've been there, too.) I made a resolution to be kinder to myself, this year. Nothing big, nothing specific, just...kinder.

    The advice about doing for yourself is good advice. When we have been wounded, we tend to isolate. The wounding, the loss of our dream children, becomes who we are, becomes the story we tell ourselves and the story others tell about us. And while that is a facet of who we are, CaMom, you need to (and I need to) make our lives and our stories about more than that bad thing that happened to us and to our families. Your life is, as it should be, a multifaceted creation. There are dark notes, as there are in every life. Try not to let the dark notes, the darker colors, become the defining factor of your life. Consciously choose something joyful. Every time you think about it, look around for something beautiful, something happy and good. It's a small beginning? But it is a beginning.

    We are right here.

    :O)

    Cedar

    A gratitude journal will counter the worrying, worrying feeling, CaMom. Sometimes? We need to be pretty determined that gratitude is what we are going to feel instead of fear and worry? But we can always find five things that we really are so fortunate to have in our lives, and that will change the feeling tone.

    That is the battleground. How our lives feel. Those bad, guilty feelings are not going to help anyone. They are valueless, and they suck the strength out of us. We need to be strong, so we have to choose against them.

    ***********
    My son is furious with us too; he blames us to this day that we did not:

    Continue paying for school though he wasn't bothering to attend classes because he was smarter than every one of those teachers at that crummy school.

    Had we only kept paying (and he was 26, the last time we did pay), he would have that degree he needs to make it in the world.

    Buy him a duplex so he could live on one side and rent the other out for income.

    Mortgage our house to buy him a business, as the parents of one of his friends had done for their non-drug addict child.

    Take his children.

    Let him move home with his entire family.

    My son absolutely believes he is where he is in his life because we refused to help him. I am sorry this is happening to you. Each in his own way, every one of our children manipulates us through our own guilt, remorse, and sadness at the way their lives are going.

    Yes. These understandings have been instrumental in moving me forward, in moving me into detachment.

    Thank you so much, Recovering.
     
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    CA Mom, I think MWM may be talking about me in terms of your question about what you would do if he shows up on the doorstep.

    My son got out of jail Feb. 14. I knew he was getting out because I was able to call the jail and they told me when. In our state, because the jails are so overcrowded, the sentences are regularly reduced by 30%. They let people out at midnight (horrible practice, but whatever) and they have to be off the property within 10 minutes.

    I don't pick up my son from jail anymore. In fact, I tell him not to come here when he gets out.

    This time, I sent him a postcard---they don't accept letters anymore at the jail either---telling him not to come here. But knowing my son, I felt he might come here anyway. My house is about 1.5 miles from the jail where he was (and is again now).

    So here is what I did.

    I planned to leave the house that night. My son and his fiancee were here from out of town and I asked them to also make other arrangements. No one was here.

    On the front porch I left this: A backpack with jeans, t-shirts, a coat, gloves, a hat, tennis shoes and toiletries. I left a list of homeless shelters and resources. I left a $20 bill. I left a bottle of water and some packaged snacks. I left a note.

    We left.

    He came. Even though I asked him not to come, he came anyway. The next morning I came back home and it was clear that he was here and in fact, it looked like he laid in the wicker swing on my front porch.

    We went about our business that day. That night, we were all here staying as usual.

    At 3 a.m. there was a pounding on the door. What I dreaded and tried to prepare for, happened anyway. It was him.

    I can tell you I was furious. I opened the front door and I said what are you doing here? He said, blah, blah, blah.

    I told him to meet me around at the garage. I didn't let him in the house. I got dressed, we got in the car, and I told him I was taking him to an all night truck stop by the interstate. I said I will buy you a meal there and then I am going back home and going to bed. Don't you ever, ever come to this house again in the middle of the night. Don't you ever come to this house again without an invitation. I am sick and tired of your lifestyle, your choices and your behavior. Blah, blah, blah.

    He tried to interrupt me multiple times. I kept talking. He said, take me to an all-night laundromat. It was closer than the truck stop, so I said okay. I was completely on fire with adrenaline. I was so done with him and all of his stuff.

    He "couldn't believe.......(I won't bore you with all of the things he said...suffice it to say, it's the usual stuff.....)....."

    I said: Believe it.

    When he got out of the car, his parting shot was F___ Y___.

    CA---This type of thing can only happen if and when you are ready for it. Believe me (believe me), I have been through the unholy wars with him for the past ____ years. It seems like forever I have been pulling, pushing, begging, pleading...you name it---fill in your own verb----trying to get him on the right path.

    NOTHING. Nothing. NOTHING. Nothing. Works. Not one single thing.

    He grew up in this house, CA. He was five years old when we moved here from Oklahoma. He walked to school from this house. He played in the creek in this neighborhood. His friends were our neighbors.

    And he isn't welcome here anymore.

    But CA, he has created this situation. Not me. Him. I have given him a million chances. Two million chances. I have ignored, denied, compromised, excused-away, defended, blocked, enabled, propped up, supported, believed him for years.

    Not any more.

    I love my son so very much. I know that will never change. It won't because I can't help loving him. It is a part of me. It is in my very cells.

    I would give anything I have for him to be okay. But there is nothing that I have that will make him okay. Nothing I can say. Nothing I can do.

    I know because I have tried it all. I'm from Missouri, CA, I have to be shown. I can't listen to anybody else and believe their story and take it for truth---I have to try it all myself.

    I say that sadly and I hope you can be better than I have been. I hope that for you because doing all of this for so very very long has a cost.

    And a benefit. Here is the good news, CA.

    We can grow from this horrible awful intolerable experience with our adult children into better people. Better than we were. We can experience life at a richer level than ever before. We can clear away the clutter about what is truly, truly important in life and we can claim an existence that is more meaningful. We can be grateful in a way we never could have before. We can look around and live in the moment and appreciate small things and big things and people and love and compassion and kindness and so many things we never could before. We can truly learn to rely on God (or our Higher Power, however we define that) in a way we never could before.

    We can be happier people, CA, in ways that we never could have before.

    The second half of our lives (I'm over 50, CA) can be fuller and better and richer than we could ever have imagined.

    Regardless. Regardless of what our precious adult children do or don't do.

    We can choose this. It is a CHOICE. It is a decision. It isn't something that will likely just "happen" because it takes daily work. But it is within our grasp, CA.

    Don't think you are different from others here. You aren't. You love your child. We love our children. We have been very good parents. We have just wanted the best for our kids. We have made mistakes, but not fatal ones. We are simply human, and we can't be any more than that, ever. We will continue to make mistakes, but with God's help, we will do good things along the way as well.

    Thanks for coming here, CA. Your situation has helped me. Please know that we care, and we always support and accept whatever YOU decide, no matter what. We are here for you. Blessings and hugs today.
     
  4. Wow COM!!! I know you wrote this some days ago, but i just reread it again and I want to say Thank You. Mostly on the points of what to do if he shows up. I hope I could be so strong and would have the warning you had that he may show up. Since my difficult child is quite far away and it would take some support and money to get here, i think I might get some warning.

    For my toolkit:

    This is a good plan. My difficult child grew up in this home as well. My husband says maybe we should move to take that childhood home feeling away and that deep sinking feeling I get when I think about, what would happen if he showed up on the doorstep. I am standing my ground though and not going to run. It is not easy to buy a home in CA and that is no reason to flee.

    I came back to read some of this thread because my difficult child has been so quiet. No calls or text for a week. I did ask his brother if he had heard from him and he had about 5 days ago but nothing recently. When he did text his brother it was more depression talk and he doesn't want to hear it anymore either. I told him that if it gets to bad, call the dispatch at the PD there and let them take care of it. I know he is ok because i have ways of seeing activity, such as the pizza he ordered from Dominos on Friday.

    So how come I am so worried? A week is not that long. I even text this morning and just asked how he was doing, and got nothing back. I am going to take the advice I read on another post today, i would quote it if i could find it. It feels like the flood is coming and that rise of emotions are breaking through their barrier. The post said something about taking a deep breath and feeling it rush right through me.

    I had to go back and find it:

    I am sure I will hear from him soon enough and it will be another escalation and drama that I will have to wade through. There is a little hope inside of me that he is so mad at me that he is going to show me that he can do it on his own and that he is fine without me. Boy wouldn't that show me. Little Dreams :)

    CA Mom