the blame game continues..........

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Tanya M, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    In spite of difficult child's head games I really did enjoy Christmas.
    For the most part I have very little contact with difficult child. He's pretty typical in that I only hear from him when he's in trouble or wants something.
    I shared on another post about him needing my help to get an ID. I was not happy about it but he does need an ID so I've sent off for the documents he will need. This is the first thing I've done to help him in quite a few years.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Not sure what happened, my post got posted before I was done.

    In spite of difficult child's head games I really did enjoy Christmas.
    For the most part I have very little contact with difficult child. He's pretty typical in that I only hear from him when he's in trouble or wants something.
    I shared on another post about him needing my help to get an ID. I was not happy about it but he does need an ID so I've sent off for the documents he will need. This is the first thing I've done to help him in quite a few years.
    About a week ago he posted on FB that he needed a ride to Chicago. I had a little wave of panic as I live north of Chicago and was wondering what his intentions were. I have played out the scenario in my mind many times that if he showed up on my door step that I would not invite him in because I know he would be hard to get rid of. So while I wondered, I knew if it came to that I'd be ready. I didn't have to wonder to long as someone asked him why he needed to get to Chicago and he replied that he was invited to spend Christmas with a friend of his and then went on to slam me and husband in that we never invite him for Christmas.
    He posted again a couple of days after that, that he would not be able to because no one was willing to help him including his own family.
    It never ceases to amaze me how it's always someone else's fault that his life sucks.
    Needless to say I do not respond to any of his posts on FB. I learned long ago to not engage with him.
    What really irks me is a couple of years ago he was on a mission to convince me there is no God. You must understand I am a Christian and my faith comes first in my life. My difficult child went on a rampage calling me stupid, blind, naïve, ignorant, etc... for my faith. So for him to complain about not being invited to spend a Christian holiday with me makes no sense at all.
    I'm waiting for the ID documents to come in the mail. difficult child has supplied me with an address to where I can mail them. I am trying to decide if I should include explaining to him that since he doesn't believe in God why would I invite him to share in a Christian holiday. Of course that's not the only reason, I don't trust him. I would be worried to have him in my home as if he went to the bathroom I would wonder if he was sneaking into my bedroom looking for money. Too many bad memories from the past.
    I suppose I should just send the ID documents and not say anything.
    Would appreciate some feedback.....
    Thanks for listening.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh boy Tanya I recall all of those feelings and thoughts........I'm sorry your son has maligned you on FB, those tactics are so familiar around here.

    My sense is that your son does not equate the Christian holiday with his nasty judgements of your faith. I think many of our difficult child's have a form of reality that works to keep them safely tucked inside their illusions, but does not really resemble any truth or logic or reality, it is skewered thinking.

    So offering your observations of his skewered thinking will likely fall on deaf ears and a closed mind. And, if you have any expectation that your logic will impact him at all, I would say, that alone is reason to let it go, it will only cause disappointment for you.

    However, sometimes saying what our truth is, is helpful to US, to sort of clear our own air of false debris floating around.......if that is your reasoning, then do it. Examine your motives, that would be the key I think. Also there may be a tiny element of you justifying to him why you didn't help him, which is certainly understandable, however, again, not something he will likely recognize in the manner you intend.

    It's been suggested to me a few times not to engage with 'crazy'' people for I too then become 'crazy'. I think sometimes it's hard, it has been for me, to let go and permit their version of reality to exist out there, but really, I have no control over it...........and for me, letting it go has worked better.

    Having said all of that, there is no right or wrong, only what you can live with. We grope around looking for some way to reach in and impact them and sometimes there just isn't a way in.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    RE, I guess I have never really looked at it this way. You are so right.

    Yes, it is hard. I know better than to engage him and get drawn into the craziness. I'm pretty sure I will send him the ID documents and just put in a simple note that I wish him well. I will be sending the documents certified mail, that way he can't accuse me that I didn't send them.

    Thanks so much for sharing your input.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Repeat this. No no no! Lol I wouldn't bother to explain it until your difficult child wants to sit down for a rational discussion. It might help you feel better BUT it won't for long once difficult child starts the drama up.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Tanya, it is disrespectful for anyone, difficult child included, to berate your precious faith. But isn't that what they do about anything we love? Including them?

    "Less is more."

    Anytime he talks about that, you have to get off the phone. Somebody's at the door. Or just tell him that discussion is not on the table and you will gently hang up on him if he starts it. And how awful it would been for him to be at your Christmas, which is so holy to you, and ruin it for you and maybe the rest of your guests too with his talk.

    A curious, but not surprising bond with difficult children seems to be that none of them believe in any sort of Higher Power. Since I am so sure there is one, and it is so important in my life, that makes me think that is part of their problem...they have no spirituality of any sort.

    They do suddenly sometimes get religion once they are in jail and want to impress the judges or us so that we think they changed and will maybe bail them out.

    I have nothing against atheists AT ALL. But our difficult children seem to ALL be atheists. That is something I have pondered before. The why of it. Oh, well. I'm sorry your son tries to cause you pain about something so important to you.

    difficult children are heartbreakers.
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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This is so true and mind boggling. Each time my difficult child has been in jail he would tell me how God was his only hope and how he was going to stop drinking and drugging but as soon as he would be release he was right back at it. I remember when he finished a 2 year sentence he told me that having been clean for 2 years he had no desire to drink or drug again. That lasted about a month.

    Thanks for your insight and support.
  8. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    He probably tells you this as he knows it is what you want to hear.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Tanya, before you came to us here, MWM did a series of threads on verbally abusive adult children. It took so long for me to see myself as verbally abused by my own son. As bad as things ever got, I did not put those nasty words he would say into the context of verbal abuse. I believed he was upset, or I believed he'd spoken in a moment of anger. Or blah, blah, blah, the point being that I was not holding my adult son responsible for the words that came out of his mouth.

    That was very wrong of me.

    I learned that, at bottom, allowing and excusing my grown man of a son to say nasty, hurtful things to me was as much an indication of my disrespect of him as his having said it in the first place was an indication of his disrespect of me.

    Once I got that piece, I was able to stop blaming myself or trying to make sense of why he felt as he did.

    With support and endless nurturing from everyone here on the site, I finally was able to call him on the behaviors, and to demand better of him.

    That was to turn out to be the first step in my healing, the first step in changing my perception of my position relative to my son. Soon enough, I would come to understand the why behind what he said.

    He said those things to hurt me.

    He wanted to hurt me because when I was hurt and guilty enough, the money would flow.


    If you explain anything to him Tanya, let it be this.

    This is the truth.

    Unless we tell our children the truth, nothing can change. It is possible nothing will change even if we do tell the truth but Tanya? That's on them.

    I think you handled this very hard situation beautifully. I am sorry for the hurt of it. There is nothing that cuts with such precision as the pain our children inflict.

    But that's okay. Our job is to learn to survive, to uncover and become familiar with and overcome the places where we are not thinking in healthy ways, and to heal enough to stand up again.

    Even if we are alone.

    Even if we never have our children with us, again.

    Eventually, we come to accept that. And when we do, we begin to flourish, and grow, and we begin to laugh again, and to reclaim our lives.


    And until we all get there? We have this site, and one another.

    So we are actually so fortunate.

    I remember what it was like, before I found this site.
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  10. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    My vote is no too, Tanya. Opening that up is just opening yourself up to the million little ways they find to pick apart things that we hold in our hearts as truth. Then we end up feeling gaslighted and half crazy.

    You got him his ID. He's fortunate to have that quiet support from you, even if he doesn't realize it. There's no point in forcing a conflict right now.
  11. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Any time he is bringing up religion or Christianity, you can almost bet because of past behavior, that he is gas-lighting you. He knows it works because that is what you hold near and dear. Whatever we love an respect becomes a weapon for the difficult child to punish us with, rage, against or use against us in some way. I have posted this information before on this board and am posting it again for your benefit:

    Perhaps it would help if you had an explanation of gas-lighting: Gas-lighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

    Most everyone here has been through gas-lighting. It is the lies, the distortions, the manipulating of facts. It is both emotional and mental abuse. It is used by difficult children to get you to do,for the difficult child, anything you would not reasonably do for another "normal" person. It is used to cause what you are going through right now: doubting yourself and scaring yourself with all the what-ifs. It is the never-ending merry-go-round that we stay on until we recognize that we have no control over what difficult child does, says they are going to do or the consequences of THEIR own actions.

    I would hazard a guess that gas-lighting works so well against most of us here because we are loving, caring and nurturing. These things about us are well known by the difficult child and so they use those very compassionate qualities against us by saying things that, when believed, leave us doubting ourselves, who we really are, and feeling emotionally devastated when accused by difficult child of being anything but an ideal parent. Probably the hardest part of not falling into the trap of gas-lighting is to begin to believe in ourselves enough, know ourselves enough, to not fall for gas-lighting.

    These difficult child's say horrible, vile, and disgusting things to manipulate us into feeling bad enough about ourselves to give the difficult child whatever they want at any given moment. Most difficult children lack the empathy to understand the things they say are so hateful and hurtful. It is if gas-lighting by the difficult child is the baby crying for the pacifier. Yeah, real mature!

    It is probably the most helpful for you to understand that the intensity of the feelings you are experiencing has been brought about by the gas-lighting of your difficult child just to position you where you are now. If you don't "feel bad" for difficult child, just how is he going to get you to keep coughing up the money? What "other skill-set" does he have for providing for himself? He gas-lights you because like the rat in the cage he has found that pushing the gaslighting button, if he pushes it enough times he is going to get a pay off. In fact as you stop falling for gas-lighting expect the threats, the manipulations and the abuse to ratchet up because gas-lighting you has worked for far too long and darn he knows that if he just gas-lights you with the right amount of hate and hurt - you will give in.

    Something to think about.
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  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Tanya and I'm sorry he is acting like this. I was trying to remember how old your difficult child is. I am guessing he is in his early 20s?

    I don't know, I think there are so many facets to this. First, they love to engage us in endless rounds of discussion about whatever. The engagement is the point, not the subject matter. They want a connection to us, their parents, but they go about it all the wrong way.

    I have waited for years for my son to simply say: I don't know why I do the things I do. I am sorry for how I have hurt you. I want help to change.

    Hasn't happened. My own son, now 25, doesn't believe in God but he does believe in...cannabis. I say that almost tongue in cheek because he posted some stupid thing on FB a few days ago about why cannabis should be legalized. We have both agreed not to discuss this, he and I, because our views on this subject could not be further from the other's.

    So, another fact: young men in their 20s, especially early 20s, many of them (not all of course) are just so far from being grown up. Their thoughts and actions, on their best days, are impossible to fathom and understand. There is no logic to it all.

    So, Tanya, don't waste your time discussing your faith with your son. He can't see it, and he can't hear you. He doesn't even know the language to discuss it intelligently with you.

    You know who you are, and he does not know who he is. And if he's an alcoholic or addict, he really doesn't know who he is. The substances are doing all the talking. You will make absolutely no headway with him, and you will just be more frustrated than you are right now.

    I know, sometimes we just want to SAY IT...for the record. But that's "our record" not theirs. And sometimes I think it's okay to just say it all, get it out there, and then be done, if you can. Because their response will likely engage you and me more and more and in the end, we will have SAID IT, but at what cost to ourselves?

    At this point, Tanya, we need to put ourselves as #1. Numero Uno. We are more important than they are. My "rule" is the 51% rule.

    I am 51 percent and you are 49 percent. That is a vast change from how I lived for many years, doing and doing and doing for my son while he trashed his own life and affected mine drastically. No more. Today, he still has an effect on my life because I love him and I am okay with that.

    But I have boundaries today with him that I protect diligently. I love him with all my heart but his is the life he has to live. Not my monkey, not my circus anymore.

    I would mail him the documents and then just turn, and walk in another direction for a while, figuratively, when it comes to him. Oh, he will surface again, never fear.

    Our difficult children are amazing survivors. It is amazing what they will survive. Today, my difficult child is living in an apartment, working two jobs, and making some progress. I don't know how much and I try not to parse it all. He is living with a girl who stabbed him and now she is supposedly pregnant. Dumb and dumber. But again, not my monkey not my circus. I have no voice in this, nor do I want one.

    I will deal with what I need to deal with, in terms of a possible grandchild, when the time comes. That time is probably not today or next week or next month.

    Warm hugs to you. I know the pain. I know the deep desire for them to find God/Higher Power because those of us who rely on this Higher Power to help us through each day know the relief and the serenity and the peace that comes with believing and trusting and seeing the Hand of our Higher Power work in the world.

    But we can't prescribe this for anyone else. They have to stumble upon it on their own. And it is very likely that it's not their parents who are going to show them the "light."

    I have accepted this too.
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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    When all of this was going on it was via PM on FB. It all started out with him wanting me to watch some video about why God does not exist and when I told him I had no desire to view it as there was not point in that he nor anyone would ever convince me that God does not exist. That is when it started getting ugly. First he claimed I needed to align my thinking with him because he loved me and was worried about me. I told him I would rather be a fool to believe in God and find out when I die that he doesn't exist than to not believe and find out he does. That was followed up with how harmful it was for me to believe. I told him that was the farthest thing from the truth as my faith has brought me comfort and aligned me with people who are nurturing and loving. It was at this point he took off and it got ugly (abusive). At that point I sent him a final message and told him that I would not tolerate being talked to like that, he followed up with more hate and it was at that point that I blocked him from my FB. I allowed a couple of weeks to go by and unblocked him to find he had unfriended me. So be it. That was about 2 years ago. A couple of months ago he sent me a friend request with an apology for being a "crappy son". I knew when I accepted that his apology was probably empty and that he was wanting something, yes, the ID documents.

    I suppose this is the part of all this that hurts the most. I will always have hope that someday we can have a relationship but am realistic enough to know that may never happen. I gave up the endless worrying and sleepless nights years ago. I am also a cancer survivor and my health is very important and the stress from difficult child is not good for me. It still hurts though as he is my only child. I accepted a long time ago when there would be months that would go by where I hadn't heard anything from him, that the reality could be just that, I may never hear from him again, he could die somewhere and I may never know. That was hard to swallow but I knew I needed to as it has allowed me to move on.

    I am so happy to have found this site. I have always known that I wasn't alone in that there had to be other parents that were going through what I was but to be here, to be able to vent, share, commiserate, cry, advise, accept, laugh, hug, etc..... is such an amazing gift.

    Thanks Cedar for sharing your input with me.
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  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    2M2R, YES!!! This is so true. I always knew he was using that which is dear to me against me but to have a term and definition to go with it brings so much clarity. It's good to re-read that. In fact I'm going to print it off and keep a copy in my purse. I've read it on this site before and was like "WOW" so much truth.

    Thanks so much for sharing it again!!!
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    My difficult child will be 34 next month. I've been dealing with his issues since he was 14.

    This has got to be one of my favorite sayings. "Not my monkey not my circus" It's so true.

    My difficult child has an IQ of 140, he is off the charts smart. He can read a book and retain it all, however he has zero common sense to temper his intelligence. He has so much potential but can never stick with anything. He is an amazing artist and used that for a while doing tattoo's but as with everyone who enters his life, he burned that bridge as well. This is part of what makes it so hard is he is so smart and capable but chooses to live the way he lives. You are right, it's his life to live.

    Thanks for your input and good luck with the grandchild situation.
  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thanks Albatross. As I sit here in the clarity of the morning I'm thinking "what was I thinking" You are so right in that if you give a difficult child even a little they will find a way to use it against you.

    I will mail the documents and put a note that this will be the last time I will ever help with and ID. (I have done this too many times before) difficult child will be 34 next month, time to grow up!! I actually just let out a laugh as I typed that!!

    Thanks again for your input.
  17. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    A simple question to keep in your mind when conversing with difficult child: Is he trying to get me to make sense out of nonsense?
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  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is perfect.

    Simple, and just the right question to break through that whirling, razzle dazzle, now you see it now you don't chain of events that is conversation with a difficult child child.

  19. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    Reminds me of a statement someone made to me once that stuck with me: You can't reason with "crazy". And it will only make you crazy if you try. So I tell myself that a lot. That you can't reason with "crazy".

    Another learning that I had to repeat to myself a lot is that it's ok to let someone else be wrong. I used to think, or at least behave as though I think, that it was my responsibility to educate someone close to me about how or why they were wrong about something that I was so sure of, and that I thought was important. Especially if they thought something wrong about ME or were being ridiculous. I no longer think that. I'm finally okay with just letting someone else (especially a difficult child) be wrong. And I try not to reason with crazy.
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  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There is another method to t heir madness besides trying to hurt us and gaslight us, which they do.

    If they believe that life is random, if there is nothing else, it is easier for them do the things they do. Now when you and I act, we are guided by our religious or spiritual beliefs, thus our morals and our behaviors matter in a larger sense to us. Our grown kids do awful things to people and want to believe they CAN. And they want us to share this belief.

    They use God like everything else...only for their own advantage. Thus, people on death row suddenly become associated strongly with a religion because THEN they've been caught and feel it can help them.

    I'm not at all saying that atheists have no moral compasses. I am saying our difficult children don't and thus it is easiest for them to believe there is no higher power of any type who may not like the way they live their life. And they don't want us to think that either.

    Don't take it personally and don't allow him to your religious holiday celebrations unless you want to risk that he will spout off and destroy the holiness of the day for you. Also I would go easy on allowing yourself to be a forum for his lack of faith. If you can not bring yourself to hang up the phone, just put it down and pick it up after there is no longer any noise. And then you can say "Uh huh." and put it back down again. There is no reason to listen to abuse. None. Nada. NOT EVEN FROM OUR GROWN CHILDREN.
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