Social Services Resources in New Orleans?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by scent of cedar, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    difficult child son (37) FB this morning that he and his wife and two children will be homeless by the 13th of this month unless husband sends $1700.

    Mulling over the many possible responses.

    What would you do?

  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a guided meditation that may interrupt the usual fear thoughts.

    Perhaps staying in the uncomfortable space of not doing for a few days, as a possible different outcome bubbles up.

    Try to make a distinction for yourself on the difference between enabling and loving kindness, looking at it as loving kindness feels good and enabling doesn't.

    Ask yourself the question, "what am I willing to do without resentment?"

    Since your son seems to rely heavily on you and husband to save him, it is not an isolated circumstance of helping our kids when they have run into a wall...........this sounds like every time he hits a wall, it becomes your responsibility and all of you have bought in to that thinking. What CAN happen is that in you not stepping in, he will have to become resourceful, not more immature and infantile. The stakes are high because HE allowed that to happen. Not you. In my opinion, there comes a time when we must say NO. This may be that time, only you will know that. There were many times in my own life when things felt dire, but I rose to the occasion and found solutions because there simply was no one to go to for help. Perhaps you can recall times like that with you and husband when you were younger. When we find our own answers, we are empowered and stronger, not weaker and more manipulative.

    Sending you good thoughts, it's a tough place for a parent to be.

  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Recovering. I will do the meditation. This is a good idea. Sitting with the discomfort has opened other possibilities, too. Things like how it could be that two adults let it get to this point again and again. Things like keeping the focus on how we carry ourselves through without succumbing to the FOG. Shared that idea with husband, this morning.

    Also, shared Scott G response regarding power and attachment.

    There is nothing we could do without resentment at this point.

    Thinking again about our discussion on P.E. regarding adult kids who only pull themselves together when there is no other choice. Also, wondering at the pathology at the heart of this. There must be something kicking in for difficult child son to invariably come up with a crisis at the same time difficult child daughter is in crisis.

    I am thinking about that old saying, something about if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

    Very hard to think of him, desperate. That is our area of vulnerability. So far, have not engaged in usual conversation re: why we need to do this with difficult child son. Am holding steady, emotionally, myself. This in itself is a change.

    Did send websites for help with legal issues/evictions, salvation army link to pay electric, parish social services links.

    difficult child son said they would go and stay there, because there would be no help for him.

    husband and I need to not react, not respond further...then we will feel awful. You are right. It is about accepting the discomfort of that.


    Thank you again, Recovering. Posting helps me pick the color of the threads I would like to weave into this part of the tapestry. There has to be a way to change this, a way to change our own feelings of responsibility, which lead to actions which invariably are never enough.

  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    These are hard choices Cedar. A quote by Carl Jung comes to mind, "When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate." Seems true for not only you and husband but for your son as well. This is HIS fate, not yours. I think stepping in will interfere with his fate.

    The other thing I thought of is a line I've heard for many years in regard to lessons we all get confronted with. I'm not sure of the exact quote, but the essence is that we are always being nudged to change and grow and at first the lessons present themselves as small intuitive "hits" which can be relatively easy to do. If we don't hear those internal promptings, the lessons get louder and uglier, change is afoot but we are ignoring the opportunities to change usually out of fear. Then one day we get hit with the 'cosmic hammer.' Ugh. If you look at it like this, it takes the judgement lessons are here for your son and your daughter now.........................and for you and husband to allow them to walk into their own fate, whatever that is.

    Another thought to consider is that each time we step in to enable another, we rob them of the opportunity to learn, to grow to be empowered.

    My opinion is that your kids are coming up with these dramas because you are moving away and I believe that energetically, even if not known consciously, people sense that..............trying to pull you back into the familiar and the comfortable..................but it is an opportunity for you as well, to not succumb to the usual fears and allow them to face their own consequences. It's a family dynamic which has erupted with enormous force because it has essentially been hidden out of awareness until now. YOU are the one who has brought the light into the dark places. You've done a great job too. Stay the course Cedar, we are all given many tests in life to see if we are strong enough to make the necessary changes, I think this is one of those times. Follow your bad Cedar self through this one. Sending you good thoughts...............Keep posting as you go through this, it will help you to clarify things.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im so sorry Cedar. I know this is difficult.

    Think about this. What would he do if you guys werent around? What would he do if you were very ill and living on a very small amount of money? He would have to figure all this out on his own. We cant keep saving them. At some point they need to do it on their own.

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, I was thinking about you a lot today and I am hoping you are doing okay. Would you drop a quick line to let us know you're alright?

    I was pondering your predicament and perhaps I missed a few beats, but didn't your son want money last week to buy his kids Christmas gifts? You know, I do believe in every state there are pretty strict eviction laws which protect the tenant. Here in Ca. you have to serve someone and they have 90 days to leave the premises at which time they would be escorted by the sheriff if they are still there. In other states it may be 30 or 60. Wouldn't he have known he had to leave before this? It seems unlikely that he is simply thrown out with a few days notice. And if he knew he was being evicted, why would he ask you for money for gifts last week when he knew he was being evicted this week? This is starting to not make sense. Either he is outright lying to you to get money, or he "forgot" to mention that he was evicted? He could buy a lot of Christmas gifts for $1700. It sounds fishy. Maybe he's just making sure he gets his fair share of equal pay that he believes his sister may be getting from you. Whatever the reason Cedar, proceed with caution, really.
  7. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Yes, Recovering. Plus, in October, before we came South, this same son received $650 to a different emergency. We had just given difficult child daughter $1000 and told both kids that was the last of it. difficult child son has received $250 since then. difficult child daughter: I think $500 and another probably $500 in clothing and travel expenses due out soon, to get her out of this situation. What difficult child son said is that he had completed a job which would have netted $1700. The lady is refusing to pay, because she does not like the quality of the work. I see that he may not want $1700, but some lesser amount. Rent and utilities, maybe? husband said I should find out what it is difficult child son actually needs. $1700 was the value of the job, the amout of money difficult child son should have taken in this week.

    We aren't doing well at all, Recovering.

    Well, that's not true, really. Our heads are spinning, we are traumatized by the savagery of the attack on difficult child daughter, and difficult child son's latest demands have not been met with the usual "O.K. but this is the last time." I was at the dentist today, and realized they were playing Christmas carols. I am only vaguely aware it's fricking Christmas.

    I liked what you said about the lessons getting harder, Recovering. I would definitely say that is the case, here. difficult child daughter actually does need help. But I heard from her today all about how family turned away from her when she was homeless. She is so angry and hurt that they turned away from her. I am not going to even tell husband about that one. Extended family was there at her apartment twice, another aunt slipped her money, and an uncle would have taken her in at any time. When we got home again, we made it totally clear that she could come home. All she wanted then was money, too. We gave it, and learned later that, had we stopped, she would have been beaten, and that she was beaten until she asked for the money, every time we waited to hear from her until we sent it.

    I understand that we have created this situation...I literally don't know how, or why, in the sense that every time help was given, every time a child, or a child and/or grandchildren were taken in, it was an emergency situation. It's a nasty trap, and both kids conveniently forget that drug use is the root cause of their problems, and of where they are in their lives today, in the sense that they were not mentally available for private school (which difficult child daughter attended, and difficult child son slept through the interview for) or college, when they were young and we were financially able to do that.

    difficult child son had to have been aware of his impending eviction, and did not deal with the situation. I read a post tonite on P.E. about a family with FOUR addict/non-functional kids. I get it that we are contributing to the crumminess of this situation. It's always an emergency.

    I told husband tonight that he could not give difficult child son the money. husband is trapped. He wants to help. It is never enough and we are so far beyond anything budgeted for this year that it's scary.

    I'm sorry, Recovering. Not an upbeat post. Chances are excellent that my sister will show up here on Wednesday to prove she was not asking to come because she couldn't afford to stay elsewhere. It would be just like her, to do that. I am about ready to say "Well, that's a really good thing, because you aren't staying here now, either."


    I am thinking about that aspect of things. Recovering, there could not be a more Perfect Storm. parents were all about how no one could expect anything from them. I did not want to be that parent. Now, I am going to pick that. It is hard to do, hard to accept.

    Please excuse me. I sound so sharp and nasty.

  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Cedar, I've been thinking about you and hope you are ok. In another month he'll need another 1700, tell husband to stay strong. difficult child isn't going to bully you anymore. He can talk to the social worker or guidance counselor at the kid's school about getting the kids presents and they will also help locate some living situation. I'm not kidding. This is what they do. Toys for tots and other charities are for kids and the school can do so much more than you can imagine. difficult child is too old to be so dependent and to blame you. I know you know this and I don't mean to say it. I just want you to know the school can help him.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh my Cedar, you do not sound "sharp and nasty" at all, you sound exhausted, confused, afraid, weary, angry and sad. All to be expected with what you are dealing with.

    Cedar, I know how hard you've tried, I know how much you've given, I really hear how you have tried everything you know of to help your kids...........but after reading these horror stories now, there is a real pattern here with your kids and really Cedar, they know exactly how to play you and husband and get you to feel sorry for them and keep giving to them over and over. You and husband succumb to the guilt and believe everything they tell you. Like you could see the 'stuff' my daughter pulled on me, I think many of us "out here" not living in the middle of your story, can see that your kids are really expert manipulators. Somehow they always go to you guys not giving them enough, or you get compared to these fictional families where the kids come home and stay forever and the parents happily support them. This is all BS, utter nonsense. For whatever reason you and husband feel as if you didn't live up to some image of good parents and then your kids use that as a weapon to get whatever they want. You are hostages.

    I think that when people don't work and don't handle their lives responsibly, then EVERYTHING is an emergency. Of course it is, even having to fix a flat tire is an emergency if you don't have $10 to fix it. Emergencies happen because people aren't taking care of their lives. It wouldn't be an emergency if they had jobs, if they didn't use, if they were responsible, if they planned, if they thought anything through. And, if you weren't there to help them, they would figure out another way.

    Your daughter may need help, however, while you are handing her money and helping her, she is telling you that the family doesn't support her. And she chooses to be with men who beat her when YOU don't give her money? Talk about being held hostage, geez, Cedar, you are STUCK in a nightmare in which your children think nothing of using you for money as they abuse you, tell you you do nothing for them and then blame you for the beating they took because you didn't get the money to her fast enough.

    Cedar, get yourself to a therapist or someone outside of the family who can give you a reality check as soon as you possibly can and don't give any more money to your kids.

    And, before your sister shows up, get in touch with her and tell her this is not a good time for YOU and you cannot host her. Don't wait until she shows up at your door with another bag of blame for you, be proactive and set a boundary for yourself.

    I am angry for you Cedar, angry at all of these ingrates around you hurting you, blaming you, bleeding you dry, abusing you, never getting enough out of you and having the nerve to recite their definitions of what a real family does for their children. Get mad Cedar. Get really, really mad because this situation has reached epic proportions and you and husband need to stand up and scream a resounding NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

    In trying so hard not to be our parents, perhaps we swung too much to the other extreme. I did. And, you don't have to be like your parents, you couldn't do that, but clearly, boundaries and NO's need to be established because it has all come to a head now, it is time to put a stop to it.

    I am so so sorry you are going through this, I do know how hard it is, I can empathize. I had to face the same realities with my daughter too. She never wanted help,she only wanted money and when I stopped giving her money, she found another way. Stop it Cedar. The stakes are so high because sometimes it takes a nightmare to wake us up from our own denial. It is loud and ugly now, so take stock of the situation, see the truth, don't take on any of the blame, you didn't do anything wrong. Your kids are middle aged adults who need to grow up.
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Ack, Recovering!


    I am going to show this to husband.

    Believe it or not, your letter is a bright spot in my morning.

  11. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Perhaps I could trust your anger, Recovering, but not my own? After reading your post, anger is what I DID feel. You were so right on in every aspect of what has been happening, so close to what "Bad Cedar" has been roaring about since she got here.

    It was easy to say what I said to difficult child this morning. So much easier to say that than to try so hard not to damage his fragile self-esteem. I did not call him names. I did not say anything harmful and yet, I told the truth. Looking back on it, all I can think is that it was so easy.

    So remarkably easy.

    I remember once Recovering, when you told your daughter similar truths and I think you posted about it having been easy, too. I believe there were still some tough times ahead for you. I am glad to have been forewarned.

    I so appreciate all you have done for me, Recovering. I understand that, while acknowledgement is good and appropriate, the true reward for you is in helping another parent to see, and in changing the pattern for that family.


    I quoted the phrase I began this post with because I think it is crucially important for other parents to read, too. This is what I think I know about that: Given that we don't know what we did, we could only see that our kids were not doing well and understand that something must have been wrong, in our homes or in our parenting, for things to have turned out as they did for the kids.

    That is a never-ending place for guilt and enabling to flourish.

    If we had done something specific, we could have acknowledged, apologized, and addressed it. This is such an important piece. I hope I am explaining myself clearly. Not that our lives were perfect or our parenting without flaws ~ there were plenty ~ but for parents who haven't really done anything they can readily see to explain the situation, recovering from enabling or not falling into it to start with is almost impossible for that very reason. What happened to the kids is like some horrible mystery, something we scare ourselves to death with. We never can figure out who the criminal is because there isn't one. So, good and decent parents will presume it to have been them, and will work tirelessly to correct whatever harm it was they unintentionally inflicted.

    This seems so important to me, to get this idea across.

    I know a man who was divorced when his three children were young. The son died of heroin overdose at 31, after all those years of addiction/recovery/addiction. The father has not forgiven himself to this day for the divorce. His remaining children, in their fifties now and sensing a vulnerability, are angrily demanding their due, their inheritance, their pound of flesh for the things they suffered because of the divorce. But here is the thing: this only works because he feels guilty to start with, and so, the kids feel entitled.

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The truth is easier Cedar. We finally have arrived at a place where it is safe enough to tell the truth. Bravo. I am very proud of you for having said NO to your son.

    Being angry is the appropriate and healthy response to have. Both of your children have been nasty to you and husband. If you weren't feeling guilty, you would have been angry long ago. The most important piece for you now is to know that you and husband didn't do anything wrong. Keep repeating that to yourself. Write little signs with that statement on it and place them all over the house. I remember when I came to that conclusion, it was when I got through my own shame, the shame of something is wrong with me and the never ending payments I made because I believed that to be true. It was like a new thought, I kept saying it over and over, and when I told my therapist, she said, "YAY, it's about time."

    Cedar, if you and husband stopped comparing yourself to other parents and stop comparing your kids with "regular" kids and threw that guilt overboard the truth of the situation would be apparent and you would not CAVE and give in. The only reason you would cave is because you and husband still feel guilty. Stop feeling guilty. Stop feeling shame. Get mad. You are being used.

    Your son's fragile self esteem is his problem. Didn't you have to grow up and leave home and figure out a way to have a life separate from how you were treated? I did too. We made it on our own. Let your son and daughter do the same.

    I am honored to have been a part of you changing the pattern with your children. As I listen to you and try to find words to say to you, it strengthens my own resolve, makes my choices clearer, deepens my understanding that I did indeed, do the right thing. As I have said many times Cedar, detaching from my daughter has been the hardest most devastating thing I have ever had to do. I so get how you and husband feel.

    I do believe that the only way we can see through the FOG is to have some other person who is not connected in the family, to keep telling us the truth. In addition to two therapists, a group of other parents, and this forum, SO was a huge component of my healing. He is not, like your husband, invested in my daughter, or my mother, and because he could see the truth and stood by me, continuing to tell the truth, eventually I GOT IT. I think perhaps I am that truth teller for you. If we don't have that other person, I am not sure getting out of the FOG is even possible. That's why I ALWAYS tell parents to seek help.

    We are all so mired in our own stuff, our own guilt, shame, fear, perfectionism and our images of how we SHOULD be parenting, that it is almost impossible to see the truth of who our kids are. It breaks our hearts and causes an immense amount of suffering. However, if you don't see the truth, the amount of suffering that will continue endlessly and in fact continue to get much worse while we stay stuck in being victims of our adult kids is MONUMENTAL. I believe, it'll kill us, take all of our money, joy, our very life force and for what? So when we are dead, our kids will find another host to be a parasite to. We all need to wake up.

    Yes, I remember telling my daughter the truth too. It got easier after that. Even though there was more stuff, it was smoother.

    While I was reading Brene Brown's book on shame, I had jury duty and it was in the same courthouse as where my daughter and I had mediation about my granddaughter, where her mother in law brought charges against her for neglect, where I had to go continually to fight my daughter for custody...............I sat outside that courtroom and felt all the devastation that my daughter has brought to my doorstep. Not the joy and pride that other parents have, but the cruelty, the blame, the constant and unrelenting needs, the meanness to me, the disregard of me, the complete lack of being able to see me, hear me or know I had any value..................I left the courthouse at break, called husband from my car and just broke down crying in the parking lot. All the years of that abuse from my own child was apparent, the truth had finally seeped through. There was more after that, but that was the day I stopped feeling guilty and made the distinction between guilt and the shame inside me that allowed ANYONE to treat me the way my daughter had. I have changed completely now and what is very interesting is that my daughter treats me differently now. She never asks for anything from me. The power shifted, I ceased to be a victim of her because I felt guilty or ashamed, now I have my power back, I can see the truth and I can state the truth and my boundaries easily. What she does with any of it is NOT MY PROBLEM. I broke the chains that bound me. And, like you, I had to go deep inside to do it too. It was not all about my daughter, it was about me and my own lack of self esteem. Put your focus on your self esteem and don't allow your kids to harm you. That will shift everything.

    "this only works because he feels guilty to start with, and so, the kids feel entitled."

    There you have it, your part in it. Same for me. Those parents you sometimes speak of who can walk away? They may feel a little guilt, but they do not feel SHAME the way we do. That shame allows many people to do a bunch of nasty stuff to us and we stay in our victimhood because we believe we deserve it and they are right. But, that is not the truth Cedar, you and husband don't deserve this at all. And just for the record, you don't deserve the bad treatment from your sister either. Let Bad Cedar go at her! In fact, just let Bad Cedar reign for awhile, until she is incorporated and integrated within you so you can utilize her wisdom and ability to tell it like it really is. She is the real you. (like now my granddaughter says to me, "you are so different now Grammy, I liked you better when you gave in all the time!!! HA HA! I like this me better!! And, interestingly, she is much more of an adult now, kinder and takes responsibility for herself)

    You deserve to spend your money on YOUR JOY and YOUR HAPPINESS and YOUR FUN. Not your ungrateful, entitled kids.

    Last year I spent $10,000 on my daughter. This year, nothing. Take some of that money you and husband were going to spend on your son or your daughter and go away for the weekend and don't answer the phone. Start your own lives, your kids have robbed enough of your lives now. My SO and I go on a road trip almost every weekend. We go to the coast, or to the mountains, or to the city, walk around, have lunch, have easy days. One day a week and yet it means so much to us. It's like your one hour a day years ago listening to Dean and having Manhattans. Start to focus on what you guys want. Do something every single day that makes you happy and gives you pleasure. I practice this every single day. It takes a little time to get over what our kids have done and what we have allowed them to do. Start today to bring pleasure back into your lives....................Sending you big hugs Cedar. Good job.

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, I really hear the torment in your posts. I am also mad on your behalf. Honestly your son should deal with his own problems...he got into them himself.

    I did send a letter once to Jamie apologizing for some of the things I did to him and his brother's when they were young and told him I was sorry. He read it and said he never even thought about it. Mainly my bad acts had to do with yelling at them when they were growing up. All this happened before I was diagnosed and got on medication. The only thing Jamie still remembers and teases me unmercifully is that when he was 4 and Cory was 2, I tied them to two kitchen chairs with a pair of socks and made them sit there staring at each other! It lasted no more than 5 minutes and it was to stop them from fighting. Sitting there staring at each other made them begin to laugh at each other!

    *Hey at least I didnt do what Tony's mom did to him and Buck one time. She got mad because they were arguing and picking at each other and she made Buck pull down his pants and Tony had to kiss him on the butt! He did have underwear on at Gives a new meaning to Kiss My A!
  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Yes and yes and yes, Recovering. Yes to the shame dynamic and the guilt dynamic. Yes to the change noted in those around us when we finally see through the truths we taught ourselves to protect our abusers from (in my case, anyway) the lust of vengeance. I wonder whether the difference between an abused child who grows up to be a sociopath or a murderer and those victims of abuse who, like us, internalize the experiences as shame and guilt is that those who go on to be murderers have chosen vengeance over self hate?

    They say some people go around murdering their abusers again and again and again....

    You know how we are always wondering at the interconnected chains of serendipity Recovering, how we always wonder whether there is a purpose at work that we cannot comprehend. I was only able to trace that abuse/lust of vengeance connection because of the therapist who turned on me. It is true then, Recovering, that all these things were meant to happen just as they have.

    It could be that we are seeing the lines, the genetic lines, set free after all, Recovering.



    I will post more tomorrow. Thank you for your response, Recovering. Happy Hour, here.

  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I so hope you enjoyed your happy hour. Good for you. I was just reading how liberating and healing dance is, so perhaps you and husband need to cut a rug too!

    Interesting that you traced the vengeance thread as a result of bad reminds me of a quote I read in a spiritual book once. It said something like, "the soul doesn't care what the personality has to go through to grow, only that the soul completes the raising of consciousness." That made a lot of sense to me. My personality has been bummed at times, but as time goes by I can almost always see that there was a lesson to be learned and there would be that sense of liberation not uncommon once something is let go.

    I am very glad to be traveling this path with you Cedar, we have many interesting similar experiences and we have our own synchronicity ................................I just thought of a time I was about to go flying with my youngest brother who is a pilot.............he was doing the check list on the small plane we were about to take off in........we were tethered to the ground by a couple of cables, the engine was running. I was waiting in the plane and it occurred to me that I was like that plane, tethered to the earth, engine running, ready to fly, but the chains that bound me would not let go......................That image is very clear to me and I just thought that now, you and I are undoing those cables, motoring down the runway about to be flying.....FREE.
  16. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I have heard dance described as moving meditation, Recovering. I love any kind of dancing. My husband? Not at all. I wish he would let go a little. Maybe that will be a part of breaking out of this trapped parent thing? :O)

    I had always loved ballet. I took classes as an adult. This made me very strong. Studying dance has to do with relearning the way our muscles hold energy, with relearning the way we interact with the substance beneath our feet, with being conscious of ourselves within the space we occupy. As that changes, our self image changes. Having challenged ourselves at so many levels to have achieved whatever expertise we achieve, we have that spiritual strength to fall back on in other areas of our lives.

    When we moved out of the city, I could not find an adult ballet class I enjoyed, but I was so fortunate to tumble into martial arts through the strangest series of coincidences imaginable, Recovering.

    Through the strangest series of coincidences imaginable.


    Martial arts, like dance, teaches spiritual truths through training the body. If you have never taken a martial arts class, Recovering? Begin with Tai Chi. Like everything in life, Tai Chi can be learned at a surface level, or at a depth that has no bottom. I am only beginning to understand these things about the martial arts. I have been involved with them for something like ten years.


    It wasn't bad therapy, Recovering. That therapist was amazing. Things took a wrong turn somewhere and everything got all confused. Par for the course, I blamed myself. Blah, blah, blah. But here is the interesting thing, Recovering. Through what happened with difficult child daughter, I was softened up enough, desperate enough, to go looking to heal, to change whatever it was that was wrong with me and was affecting my child. After some truly incredible therapy, the strangenesses happened, and BOOM, I was blasted from one probable path to another.

    It was such a dark, horrible time, Recovering.

    But looking back on it now? I see that, just as with these last horrible experiences, I was given every tool to survive it before the lesson hit. We are meant to survive it, Recovering. There are too many coincidences for it to be otherwise.

    So, I am feeling pretty grateful this morning. Though I do acknowledge that I might not have survived it in one piece. It was close, actually. But, like I always say...I lived. So much beautiful poetry surrounds those lessons, Recovering! I am still going to find some of it and post it here for you, just for the joy of sharing it. Here is the beginning of the one written as I began to heal:

    When the moon be full and the westwind, blown
    When the pheonix be reborn and the falcon, flown
    When the tiles of that mosaic first composed in blood on stone
    Fall seamlessly together, revealing no face but her own....

    Then witch and Child, awakened
    repossess the cauldron and claim the loom

    Reweaving tales first told in ancient blood
    on stone.

    We will see whether I have the courage to share this, Recovering! My poetry is beautiful to me, but not very pretty.


    I had an unusual dream about a plane once, Recovering. It was during the thick of those earlier lessons in healing. Just lately, I dreamed I was flying without a plane. Flying so fast in the dark, hitting the ground hard, so hard.

    But in the dream, I lived.

    And I remembered that dream so many times, going through these past few weeks. I was scared, it was dark, but I lived.

    The Joel Osteen materials helped so much, too.


    Have you read The Artist's Way at Work: Riding the Dragon, Recovering? I wanted to send you information about the dragon scroll used in that book. It is my favorite work of art, filled with incredible meaning. But do you know that I could not find a thing about it online, though I know it is there, because I have looked it up, before.

    I lent my copy to someone. It was never returned. It must be time for me to read it again, too. Here is a quote from the book. It is listed on the site, too.

    "Reminding one another of the dream that each aspires to may be enough for us to set each other free."

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Have such a nice day, Recovering.

  17. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Janet. I am so careful around the issue of my own anger. Feeling the legitimacy of the anger someone else feels in listening to my side of the story clarifies things for me, sort of lets me see that what is happening really is a wrongness that should be addressed, not something to be backed away from or rationalized or minimized.

    I like that you did that for me, Janet.



    I don't think you were an abusive mom, Janet. I think you were a mom pushed to her limits and doing the best she knew. Know how I know that? Because your love for your kids pulses through every post you write. You get frustrated, you get out of sorts. Sometimes, you react in ways you wished you hadn't. (Ha! I still remember reading some of those posts!) But you are so darn honest about everything, Janet. You remind me of my own daughter, sometimes. No one really understands why she does some of the things she does? But she has a great heart.

    When she is well, difficult child daughter is one of the coolest moms ever. She's so darn far from perfect with her kids that there just isn't any question but that she loves them, wants them, values them, and is doing her best. Her kids are remarkably healthy, given all they have been through. I think that's because, at the core of it, they know who they are. She acts out their value to her in every interaction she has with them, good or bad. But it's's the difference. I would always say I'd had enough of something, or that I didn't want something, so my kids could have it. difficult child daughter is like ~ "Don't touch that. It's mine."


    That's the kind of mom I think you probably are too, Janet. Real and honest with your kids, out in the open about any parenting shortcomings. Probably an easy mom to talk to about anything because you have been through so much, yourself.

    I don't know how to clarify what I am trying to say.

    The gist of it is that your son probably doesn't remember specific incidents as abusive because they weren't. They were the overreactions of a frustrated parent who had been pushed beyond her breaking point. Kids understand that. It makes sense. They did thus and so enough times that their mother took after them. Real abuse, the kind that scars the psyche, has nothing to do with parenting and everything to do with victimization. There is no lesson to be learned, no sense to be made of it.

    My mother, who was and still is abusive, Janet, not only does not apologize as you did to your children ~ she is literally still out to destroy us. And does so, to the limit of her power, on a routine basis. She is out to destroy our marriages too, unless she can dominate the male or the female partner. She has actually played a part in destroying two of my sister's marriages through what she told the husbands about my sister shortly after the weddings. She did the same to me, of course. My husband, though, is so "first son in an Italian family" that you could be contemptuous with him, about him, around him, all day long and he would wonder what was wrong with you, not him.


    He discounts my mother, and always has. Probably having to do with whatever it was she told him about me, now that I think about it. He has never told me what it was, only that it happened and didn't matter. My mother hates husband with an unbelievably passionate intensity and tenacity to this day, and we will have been married 42 years, in June.

    So, no Janet, you did not abuse your children. You love them now as you loved them then, and I can feel your love for them in every post you write.

  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your poetry is beautiful to me too Cedar, thank you for sharing it, I hope you share more ...........

    It took me awhile to find this thread in this new format..........

    I read the Artists Way awhile back, I will look into the the Artists Way at work, Riding the dragon, thank you Cedar. I'll order it today.

    I have been wondering about you, how are you doing? How is husband? You are in my thoughts often.

    I had a conversation with my daughter via email the other day and right afterwards, I thought of you . She asked me if she could bring her new friend/roommate to Christmas dinner. She already brought him along for her birthday dinner without asking me. The old me would have certainly agreed immediately, however, I actually thought this through. She lamented about how he has no family, his parents are dead, and that is my cue to feel bad, believe it is my responsibility and give in to her wishes. I said no. I said I had figured out the meal plan and the table plan and there is no room unless someone I invited doesn't end up coming. She wrote back this email about how she realizes what a burden she is to me and that perhaps she shouldn't come herself to Christmas dinner. Instead of falling for her martyrdom, I laughed out loud!! I saw the manipulation once she didn't get her way and I responded by saying literally, "stop being a martyr and cut the 'burden' cr@p out." That she was always invited and it would be nice if she contributed to the dinners in some way. That is the truth and now I said it, rather then be a part of some dialogue which was established for me long ago in my family of origin where I offer myself up on the alter of someone else's needs or desires. Whew. It felt great to just lay it out there. And, YOU were the person I wanted to share that with, because I feel that you really get what a big shift that is. It felt good Cedar, it really did. That's who I want to be now, it was more lighthearted and easy, not heavy and filled with pressure to do the "right thing." The right thing is what I want. I can (now) trust myself on that.

    I am also seeing how this is impacting my relationship with my granddaughter. As she readies herself for college next year, a lot is put on my plate. I keep taking it off my plate and giving it to her to figure out. I go though a lot of internal fear about how I SHOULD be doing a lot for her, but then I come out the other side of it and place it on her. It is not always easy on me to do that, but I am seeing each time I do, she comes up with her own interesting options and she then feels good about how she figured it out, not me. I am learning. She gives me many opportunities to grow and learn. But I don't want to make the mistakes I made with her mother, my old enabling patterns are not healthy and I am so determined to give my granddaughter a better and healthier version of me.

    I am interested in how you are doing today Cedar, so if you find me here, let us know how you are. Thinking of you and hoping your days are getting easier and calmer.
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, brother. I can't make the quotes work.

    Well, I just got goosebumps when you were talking about telling your daughter to cut the baloney about being a burden. I did not even SEE the manipulation in her burden response. (I can't underline anymore, either. Please excuse the caps.) Once you pointed it out Recovering, there it was, big as life. Recovering, I do understand what it cost you to do that, how scary and wrong and yet, glowingly, perfectly right it was to respond as you did, all at the same time.



    Other parents could never understand what it cost us to reach this place, this really courageous place, where we take the bull by the horns and change reality for our grown children.

    And for ourselves, based on the joy and power I feel bursting through your posts lately, though I am not there yet, myself.

    Our children are different kinds of people. Whether we enabled them to create it or whether it was part of the thing both parent and child are here to work their ways through, WE ARE CORRECTING IT, GOING AGAINST THE HORROR OF OUR OWN CHILDHOODS TO DO IT, STEPPING FORWARD WITH MEASURED, DETERMINED INTENT.

    And you are sticking with it and succeeding, Recovering.

    I could not be more pleasantly flabbergasted.

    I imagine your daughter is so shaking her head over you, Recovering! :O)

    I don't think difficult child son knows what to make of the situation, either. HE OFFERED TO SEND THE MONEY BACK. You believe it?

    I told him he should keep it and that, if and when he paid it back, that would go a long way toward re-establishing the relationship.

    And that's all I said and I couldn't care less whether he feels devalued. Well, that's not true, but whatever. He doesn't need to know how I feel about that. He will have no choice but to grow through it. Good. Long past time he grew up.

    I keep thinking about what you said about enabling creating resentment and helping giving pleasure, Recovering. That was the clearest test of which of my behaviors are enabling. The change in both of us is so good, so total, Recovering.

    A toast? To us, and to Janet and to all of us here, so battered and so courageous and determined.

    Hear the ringing of the crystal?


  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you Cedar, it means a lot to feel the acknowledgement of my 'progress' from another wounded, warrior Mom. Yes, I hear the ringing of the crystal and it makes me smile...............

    That distinction between enabling and loving kindness was a huge help to me too, because it really assisted me in immediately knowing when I was enabling.........I was able then to stop before I engaged in the old behavior.

    My daughter wrote me an email later not mentioning the former conversation at all, but telling me she loves me. Hmmmmmm. She may indeed not come on Christmas, but I'm okay with it, it'll be fine either way. Feels good to feel that too, to not have an attachment to the way I think it "should" be.

    I laughed when I read that your son said he would send the money back. Our kids can sure take martyrdom to great heights, can't they? Geez.

    You sound better Cedar, like some burden has been lifted off of you. Is that true? Having said NO to your son has freed you and husband a little? How are you about your daughter? Is she coming back to Florida with you?

    Sending you a big smile and good thoughts............