Sucking out the joy


Ok, does anyone else feel this way or is it just me? Been having issues with Difficult Child for a couple years. I've been feeling a bit down the last couple of months as some major things have happened (don't want to get into it all at the moment).

So, my niece announces that she's pregnant and then a couple weeks later she announces she's engaged. I'm happy for her but I don't feel joy. Actually, I just feel numb. When I'm on FB and I see others bragging about their children's accomplishments, I feel the same way. Great to see little Johnny is the star of his football team, but what are you going to do when he gets hooked on drugs and steals from you...those are my thoughts. But I hit like on the photo and move on without any congratulatory words. I just don't have it in me. Just wondering if this is normal. I don't know how to shake these feelings. Thank goodness for this group.


Well-Known Member
....the joy...the life...the energy...the light...all of it sucked out! So hard to feel like doing anything when one segment of your life is going bad. I am trying to work on keeping busy, adding small social things, or reading a book, or something I used to enjoy doing. Sometimes you can't shake the feeling, but do something else anyway. Keep hitting like on the photos... KSM


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Mt. Denise. YES YES YES. I feel the same way. I have a hard time just letting it all go or shelving it sometimes so I can just feel content for a bit. It's not at all unusual to have these feelings.

My son was in detox while our friend's son got a scholarship to a university and it was all over Facebook. I am really happy for them because they are wonderful people but they are no better than we are. It just reminded us of what our son was NOT doing. :(


Active Member
Can relate completely. It takes me everything I have to feel joy for other parents and the successes their kids achieve.

I don't wish them any harm, of course. Also, when friends of mine worry about stuff their kids MIGHT be doing, but aren't really, or at least not enough to mess their lives up, I have to restrain my anger. One woman at work was undone because her son wasn't coming home for Easter! Really? That's all you got?

I know it's wrong and I don't want to feel like this-it's not THEIR fault that my Difficult Child is the way he is, so I put a brave face on it and just suck it up.


I'm new here but when I read your post I literally yelled "yes! this!". I have a good friend who is expecting her first child. She is so excited, sharing everything with me and thankfully it's on text so I can fake it easily. It's amazing how an exclamation point (or three) can make my text to her sound so positive and supportive when behind the scenes I'm thinking "so what?". Unfortunately in person, I can't hide that I'm jealous. That they have a perfect marriage, and this perfect baby coming. I love them, and I'd be excited too if it was me so I feel badly feeling the way I do. I try to remind myself, it's not about them, it's the way I'm feeling.

My younger daughter is in elementary school. I'm at the school all the time and I find myself staring at kids thinking "yup, you'll be into the drugs one day" or I think enjoy your life now kids, because you're going to be faced with some messed up things as you grow.

Anyways, I just wanted you to know you're not alone in your thinking. I wish I didn't feel this way. I'm not a mean, jealous type but I'm finding that's exactly how I'm feeling lately. The only thing that makes me feel slightly better is my husband, who is a "pillar of positivity" is also feeling the same way. Although he more laughs about it, rather than be down like I am. We have other friends who are expecting. And they've planned construction in their house, a night shift for the baby daddy etc right around the due date. The dad says " ya, I know, poor planning" and my husband says to him "the poor planning was having a kid in the first place". It was said in a joking manner, it's hard to articulate that in writing, but you get the point.

Hang in there, you're definitely not alone.


Ok, glad to know these are normal feelings. I do keep very busy with dog and cat rescue. Saving them brings me so much joy and a lot of satisfaction when I see them going to their forever homes. I wish I could help my son like I do the dogs. Thanks everyone.


Well-Known Member
Facebook is the worst. I have so many friends and relatives with kids close to the age of mine - and I mean "perfect" kids. We're talking:

An old high school friend who's daughter just graduated with honors from Harvard.

A former colleague who's son (a straight A student) just made Eagle Scout.

A cousin whose daughter is studying agriculture and raises prize-winning cattle.

They go on and on... :(

Then, of course, there's the "Share this if you're proud of your wonderful son". I hate those.


Well-Known Member
I saw the title of your post and wanted to make at least a quick reply.
We use to say this about our Difficult Child all the time. She sucks the joy out of our life, out of our energy...almost out of everything. It took us a LONg time to make changes to that situation. Putting up boundaries, was one thing that helped, so she simply couldn't drain us physically any more.
But, as far as feeling a bit "envious," of others (for lack of a better word) that can be difficult. First off I do believe almost every parent has their burden. Some are experts at hiding it and are professional marketing and Public Relations spinners when it comes to making their kid seem like a genius who is profoundly successful. Such things are often exaggerated and you will not have a clue what is really going on behind the scenes.
True, a lot of these parents do not have a Difficult Child.
I found what helped me with some of that was counseling during the worst part of it all. At it's worse, it was tough.
Then, I moved forward with my own interests. Classes, traveling, etc. in fact, hubby and I once took a cruise in the middle of Difficult Child chaos.
So be it.
I always make sure my hair is trimmed, my slacks are hemmed properly, am quick to buy myself a new lipstick, throw out shoddy clothes and replace them and so forth.
My friends often admire my "look." It sounds silly, but I'm not going to let Difficult Child stuff bring me down. It is hard as heck, but I do what I can to feel good. Hubby and I go on date nights etc.
What our Difficult Child does or doesn't do, is her mess.
I know I gave it 110% and ya know that ten percent almost killed me.
FB is a bunch of crxp, try to greatly reduce your visits there.
Figure out what you love to do and simply do it!!!!


Well-Known Member
I am blessed that I had 1 child that I could delight in. The second born has some very great moments. The 3rd child well, at least he didn't burn the house down.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Hi MtDenise, yes, most definitely have hit times where joy is hard to come by. The holidays were especially difficult. Very bah humbug. Joy to the world......uh huh.........I had to swallow that down and fake it for my son.........
It is a shocky numbing coping state we go into. PTSD.
This too shall pass, but I think we actually have to work to help it pass. Sit with the feelings for awhile but if it is prolonged definitely try counseling. I don't go on FB too much anymore. It can be like having coffee in a bakery when you are on a diet.......not helping the cause......
I like Nomads solution, hmmmm about time for a pedicure!!!!!
Take care of you and find the little things that build your joy......


one day at a time
Hi MT Denise, I have so often, over the past six years, felt completely numb and surreal as I would sit at dinner with good friends and listen to all of their adult children's wonderful accomplishments, jobs, educational status, boyfriends, trips, apartments, on and on and on. I have one son who fits that category and has done all you could hope, and then Difficult Child. When it was "my turn" to talk about my kids, I would start out with easy child and hope nobody noticed that I never mentioned Difficult Child. My stomach would be in knots. I didn't know what to never at a loss for words. I was ashamed. If I was forced to say something, I would say: He's going through a hard time right now. A silence would fall over the table. And then sympathy. I couldn't just make something up, although maybe that would have been easier.

This is so hard on a million levels. And of course, people want you to think they have perfect lives so they don't tell the million disappointments they also have with even PCs.

We just aren't honest like we could be, and it would be such a relief to be able to

Anyway, yes, I know how you feel and so does everybody here. We're here for you and we get it. You're not alone in this.


Active Member
I feel this way all the time!

I am thinking of giving up Facebook for this reason.... It's scholarship and graduation season and my sons peers are now graduating university. One good friends post about how proud she was of her daughter ( who has been in all the same classes as my son) put me in tears and I cancelled on a group get together because I knew she would be there talking about her daughters latest adventure to teach overseas :(

I felt like the worst friend ever.... I am happy for her daughter who is a wonderful girl, but am so sad for my son.

I constantly question why, and play the "what if" game..... It's killing me....

I don't feel happy for people with babies I think " you have no idea the pain...." How horrible am I????


one day at a time
How horrible am I????

You are not horrible. You are a person in pain and you are trying to protect yourself from more pain. That is smart, because you are taking care of yourself.

I used to cancel on get togethers with friends a lot during the really really bad years. I just couldn't sit there and do it. I was, as New Leaf said, suffering from PTSD, at least a form of it.

I was grieving. We are not 100 percent when we're in the midst of this pain and it's all we can do to do the things we have to do, much less try to smile and act nice and mask the pain.

I know none of us wishes ill on anyone else's children and of course we are glad they aren't going through what we are going through. But keeping a distance, for a while, even a long while, is taking care of ourselves.


Active Member
I saw the title of your thread and was instantly transported back in time....back to the really bad old days, when difficult child was a teenager (you couldn't pay me to go back there. not any amount of money.) and my group of friends actually did call our children "Joy Suckers" Yep! They suck the joy right outta ya! I was blessed with friends who also had difficult child's :)

And I remember....when difficult child's class was graduating high school....I cried for the loss that I wouldn't get to go to Graduation, would never get to hear his name called...

And then after that summer, when he was in jail, I found myself pretending that he was away at college....


Yes. It's so hard to see other people celebrate their wonderful children. I was blessed with a wonderful child, too! And, it's even hard for ME to celebrate HIM sometimes. I thank God for my easy child every day. He's my hero. But, sometimes it hurts to see how he can enjoy his life and have great things, while his brother....can't. And doesn't.

Sigh. Pray. Go forward.


Well-Known Member
husband and I actually would sometimes feel so completely depleted physically and emotionally we would often say it was as if a giant hyper dermic needle was stuck into our bodies and sucked out all our life force. :(:group-hug:

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
I felt like the worst friend ever.... I am happy for her daughter who is a wonderful girl, but am so sad for my son.
I have missed many occasions and get togethers because at my saddest point, it felt like all of my troubles with my two were just oozing out of my pores. I became the unintended blurter a couple of times, where someone asked me "how you doing?" The stuff just flowed out of my mouth in a run on sentence like a never ending river. Then I noticed the extremely uncomfortable look on the persons face. Ugh.
I didn't want to be that person at a gathering who just couldn't manage to fake it. I am glad for my friends who's kids are doing well, just couldn't bear to bring the sadness I felt for the world to see.
Aside from trying to get back to my walking and kind of a life with clay class, and this certification course I am taking, I have gone through somewhat of a hermit stage.Then there is work, where I have to snap out of it and do the best I can do at my job.
It is a heavy load.
I don't think you are the worst friend ever Colleen, you are in the thick of a battle like no other. I think it takes a lot of time and hard work to just process all of this stuff with our kids going on.
Sadness is a big part of the processing. Who wouldn't be overwhelmed with the weight of it? It is self care to want to stay home and snuggle down in bed, or post our sorrows, anything to feel what we need to feel, and I think that is okay. Trying to bottle it up and push it down will just end up making us ill. It will come out other ways.
It is natural to feel sad......and healthy, I think, to take time to take care of ourselves and work through it.
I think that is really, really important. Recognize the need to grieve as you must, and do things according to how you are feeling, not what others think you should do.
But, I do also think that if the grief and sadness becomes too paralyzing, we need to get help.
If our friends are true friends, they will understand what we are going through.



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I think the worst part for me has always been that there is there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is just no END in sight. My husband would always say when J moves out we'll do this or that and I was like, who are you kidding? When he's sober he won't leave the house, when he gets a job he uses the money for drugs and gets fired, how in the hell is he ever going to "move out"? Did he know something I didn't???

I am a survivor (lost both parents by the age of 17) and I really feel I can survive ANYTHING if I know there's some type of "end" to it but with our Difficult Child it just wasn't there. The way we were going with him, there was NO "end". We are still on the journey but have some reprieve.


Well-Known Member
I actually think Jabber and I have been pretty open to people about our problems with our son. I mean, we don't take an ad out in the paper or tell every person we meet, but people who will deal with us on a regular basis - like many of my coworkers, close family, good friends, several church members, even neighbors, know at least that we put him out for a reason, many know the reason, and that we've had real problems with him. Many know the whole story. '

More casual acquaintances I usually field a question of how he's doing with, "Oh, he's between jobs again...<big sigh>" or "He's on his own, you know how it is." or, if he's been making us really upset, "He's out of favor at the moment." That last one usually shuts people up.

I must admit, I'm rather glad I don't have a lot of friends I get together with who have perfect kids.