Thank you....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TheWalrus, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    It has been a long time since I have come here, and even longer since I have posted. Has there been just drastic improvement or major changes with daughter? No. With me? Oh yes. And for that, I thank you.

    Nearly a year ago, I almost lost her, and in the process had to come to terms with some very nasty things about her. She was and still is a full blown drug addict. She has a major psychological disorder that she refuses to acknowledge or get help for. She has long lasting physical impairments that she still refuses to treat. She completely resents me and only wants contact when she needs something from me and then she blows me off again. She is verbally abusive, manipulative, and will lie about anything to anyone. None of those things have changed.

    I was more lost than I have ever been in my life. I was so full of guilt, feeling it in some way was my fault, somehow I did something "wrong." I replayed her childhood over and over, playing the "if only I had...." scenarios until my head would spin. And I was torn by obligation - I am her mother, it is my job to make it right, I have a duty to "fix" it.... And the shame! How do you look people in the eye, knowing they in some way "blame" you for bad parenting.

    I found this site and I came here, religiously, only reading for awhile before posting. What a blessing it was to find somewhere to vent all of my anger, fear, frustration, hopes, and doubts without worrying about being judged. What a relief to know I am not the only one with an adult child who could have and should have become a contributing member of society, and instead went completely off course and continues to veer. How freeing it was to have a place to come and ask questions, ask for advice, from parents who knew exactly the kind of hell I was living in.

    A lot of changes have happened in my life and continue to, both good and bad. We have a new grandchild, my youngest daughter is about to graduate college, and my husband has an exciting new job opportunity. I have also faced some big health challenges, and I have struggled with the hardest time I have ever had at work. That is life...ebb and flow.

    I haven't spoken to daughter in several months. She knows she can no longer "get" anything from me, so I am not of use to her. She has surrounded herself with addicts and enablers who buy into her self victimization. But she has a home, she is getting by, she is surviving. It isn't the life I wanted for her, but we don't get to choose that for others - only ourselves. I still love her so deeply that sometimes it hurts to breathe, and I know that a lot of her choices are led by her mental disorder and her drug use. It makes me very, very sad, but it no longer holds me hostage. Somewhere inside her is the girl I raised. Will she ever reappear? I don't know. But life changes every day so I as long as we are both alive, I have hope.

    For now, I have learned to live in today and devote all of myself to those in my life who love, need and appreciate me. I no longer let her drain my reserves or sap my emotions. I love her from a distance, but it is a distance she has chosen.

    I didn't come to this peace in a day or a week or a few months. It took a long time, and at times I still have to stop and remind myself where to put my focus. I know that there are setbacks coming, and I ready myself for them. But I could have never done that without those of you who listened and responded and let me know that I am not alone. For that, I thank you and wish you all inner peace in 2017 regardless whether or not the situation you are in changes.

    - The Walrus
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  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thewalrus, what a beautiful post.

    My son, now 28, also had a traumatic brain injury about 6 years ago and before that had been drug-exposed at birth, in an orphanage for his first 22 months. He is living with us right now, but it is day to day.

    If I may ask, how did you change? I mean if you were to look back what were the specific choices or attitudes or changes in outlook or actions that led you to change, or that changed you?

    So grateful I am to you for having posted. So much admire that you are now centered in yourself. I am learning that working with ourselves, on ourselves, in ourselves, is the only arena where we can have real power.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you for your post.
  3. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I think there were a lot of things that helped me get there, but if I had to pinpoint the thing that helped me the *most* it was educating myself. I am a person that the more I know, for good or bad, the more I feel in control and able to handle something head on. I spent hours, weeks, months researching EVERYTHING I could find about drug addiction and her particular disorder - both of which I knew nothing about. I talked to a therapist, I came here, I read every article I could find. Over and over and over, I kept getting the same message: I can't change her. I can't make her want to get help. I can't force a different life on her. Every bit of energy I put into "fixing" her was futile as long as it wasn't what she wanted.

    I physically distanced myself. That was the hardest bc all I could think was that she would be homeless, and I would get an image of her without somewhere to sleep, anyone to help her, and fall apart. But I stuck to it. She couldn't be in my home as she is without a commitment, true commitment and not some manipulative play. When she "triggered" and began to yell and curse on the phone, I disengaged and hung up. I finally emotionally distanced myself (God, that sounds so cold). I love her, will always love her, but refused to give her control over my emotions. I accept her decisions, her life, but I refuse to participate or contribute to it as long as she makes self-destructive choices.

    To be honest, there is no way I could have done it with her in my home or even in my life on a regular basis. I don't think the most even tempered, mild mannered, empathetic person in the world can handle the continued, non stop abusive, manipulative, harmful behaviors some of these adult children are capable of. Even when they aren't "beating you up" by blowing up on you, watching your child self destruct in front of your eyes with no power to stop it is a different kind of abusive, harmful behavior.

    I know that as long as she is the way she is, there is nothing I can ever do that will be "right" in her eyes, so I no longer try to please her. I pray for her every day, and let it go to a higher power. Maybe someday she will come back to us; if not, I take solace in the memories we made while she was growing up. Ultimately, the choice is theirs, not yours. As long as they find enablers, no matter how well meaning or well intended, they have no reason to change (this from my therapist). I know she can always find enablers, but I refuse to be one of them.

    I focus on the good in my life and remind myself we are only here for a short time. I don't want to grow old and look back with regret, having spent my life trying to help someone who didn't want it instead of putting that energy where it can do some good and bring me joy. Life is a gift. I appreciate that even if right now she can't.
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  4. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    Thank you for a wonderful post Walrus. I too have been on this site now for over a year watching and reading. I finally feel brave enough to post. One day I will share the long sad story with my difficult son.(at times I still feel like I am in a war zone fog) However my healing only began when we both hit rock bottom. I detached physically and emotionally with the help of a therapist and a strong strong partner who helped me to see how manipulative and dysfunctional the relationship with my son had become. Its like one other poster on this site said. It was only until I got out of his way and my own way that we could both start to grow. I still love him, see him every so often, and set boundaries which I find at times hard to keep. But we are both moving forward. He knows I love him. But he also knows that he now is in charge of his own life, and his decisions are his consequences. The phone calls for needing things are further and further apart...which for right now is great. Will there be tough times ahead? Of course. But now I know I have my own back...and he wont ever be able to take that away from me. Hugs to you all!
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  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Walrus, you are a hero and a good example to your daughter whether she uses your example or not.

    I did a lot of what you did with my son who disowned us. I saw a psychologist who only sees adopted families and he explained attachment disorder and other things. That was my worst trauma with my kids. Without researching and the incredible therapy I couldn't have done it

    I'm so glad you are now in a good place even if your daughter is not. Hugs!
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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    It was wonderful to see a post from you tonight...and the positive things about your progress. Hope we hear more from you. You have been such a great help for others, i.e. me.

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  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Walrus, what a terrific, uplifting, inspiring post. I am so happy to read about the terrific progress you've made.

    This is the part I keep reading over and over because it rings so true for me.
    And this. Thanks so much for sharing, Walrus.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Beautifully stated Walrus, thank you so much for sharing.
  9. Hilli

    Hilli Member

    Thewalrus, as so many have already said - thank you. I can only hope that one day I can say things things and really feel them the majority of the time. The guilt is so huge and heavy. I to go back over his childhood and think of all of the things I wish I'd done or not done. Distance helps but the not knowing if they are okay or whether they will "finally" come around is so hard. I believe my son loves me but I am the enemy and although my family says things to support me, they also continue to enable him. Sometimes I am grateful he has them to lean on and other times I am frustrated because it does not allow him to be forced to move forward. Thank you again for your posed!
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  10. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    A beautiful, inspiring, uplifting post of a loving mother appreciating she too has a life that deserves love and respect. I hope, one day your daughter will see this too. xx
  11. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    Hi Walrus :) Nice to see you, and hear that you've made great strides. I'm still struggling, day to day, to make the right decisions and not enable. I can honestly say that if not for my 4 innocent grandkids, I could completely disconnect from my daughter. The grands make it impossible, so the cycle continues. Anyway, it's nice to come here still, and see friendly "faces".
  12. LoveHer

    LoveHer New Member

    I found this site 1-14-17, my daughters 24th birthday. I spent all day going back and forth with her on when she was coming over. The same thing happened on Christmas. She decided she was "ready" at 8:30 that night, just like Christmas. She made the comment you can come get me now but I don't want to hear anything. She knew she had blown me off all day. I replied, to be honest I am disappointed. I could have just went to pick her up but I'm so beyond tired of tip toeing around her feelings and life. She then sent me a long message ranting and calling me judgemental, and decided not to see us. I felt at fault once again. The short story about her: she is 24, no job, no license and no permanent home. Admitted past drug use and diagnosed ADHD.
    I wanted to comment on your post because this is all knew to me. It has evolved over the past few months. My husband and I have always supported her. She did go to college and work for a couple years after high school.
    She moved out for the second time the first week in December because we were tired of her not working, not finishing school, just being a bum. We told her if she left, we would not support her financially anymore. And we haven't, even cut off her cellphone. It has been an up and down roller coaster ever since. She and I have always been super close and she is my favorite person in the world. In a matter of months, I feel like I don't even know who she is anymore. We raised her with great values and my family is very close knit. She has disregarded my entire family at this point. I feel like she is involved in drugs or has some type of mental illness we were never aware of. She has gotten mixed up with a bad crowd of friends who enable her.
    Last Saturday, on her birthday, I was at my wits end. I stumbled across this site and have been reading ever since. I have read a lot about detachment this week. Your post has given me the courage to detach. I think it may be the only thing that can save her.
    I am broken, scared, and doubt every decision I make with her. But until she is ready to seek help, I can't continue to engage and destroy myself. I don't know how I will do it but I'm glad I found this site.
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  13. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    LoveHer, I so feel for you - especially this being so new. The up and down went on for years with my daughter. She moved out and became someone else, someone ugly, and bounced in and out of our lives when she needed something - only to move on like a tornado, all ugly words and broken hearts, when she left again. Finding out she was doing drugs was a hard slap. I felt we should have known, and she was raised in such a completely opposite way. I know nothing about drugs and perhaps that is why I didn't recognize it. I truly thought, or told myself, it was "growing pains." The borderline diagnosis was a punch to the gut. They cannot be diagnosed until they are 18, and her doctor said no clue what came first or when it appeared: traits in childhood, the drug use, or the near fatal accident that caused the brain trauma. I struggled with that for a LONG time, wondering if I somehow "did" this to her, replaying every significant moment of her childhood I could remember. She is not part of our lives right now, and I have accepted she may choose not to ever be again. But I have also made the decision not to LET her be a part of my life as long as this is who she is, drugs are what she chooses to do, and the nastiness is how she chooses to treat people. I can't. I have too many other people in my life who need me, love me, rely on me. My blessings far outweigh her burden, so I have sat her down for now. I hope she can someday be a blessing in my life again, but I am ok if she doesn't. I will always, always, always love her. I wish you all the best with your daughter and hope that she comes back to you. But you at least recognize the one thing that is often the hardest to accept as a parent - these are HER choices, this is HER life, and no matter what YOU want for her, there is nothing YOU can do to change the path is on, only SHE can. Keep coming here, reading, posting, asking questions. You will get through this. We all will.
  14. LoveHer

    LoveHer New Member

    I'm so sorry we are all in this situation in life. It's almost like the death of someone you love but they are still alive and you never know what will happen. Like you, I have others in my life that need me. My Mom, who was a huge influence in my daughters life, has early stages of Alzheimer's. I feel like I may be detaching too soon but her behavior has so greatly affected my emotions, I just don't have the energy for the games. Her lack of feelings is very concerning and I know there is drug use. I don't know a lot about drugs but I have learned. I have told her many times, when she is ready for real help, I'm here. I just hope I'm strong enough to detach.
    Your post greatly helped me and will probably save me from wasting time that I need to be focusing on my other family members. Thank you!!