Therapy for me

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MissLulu, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. MissLulu

    MissLulu Member

    Hi again,

    I’m thinking about going to see a psychologist to help me cope with the fear I live with on a daily basis. I live in a perpetual state of hyper vigilance, just waiting for the next crisis to occur.

    Right now things are okay with Fizz (nickname for my Difficult Child). He’s working, looking (albeit not very hard) for somewhere else to live and mainly abiding by our rules. (Home before midnight on weeknights, seeing his psychologist, no weed in our house, not to be drug affected in our house, going to work every day.)

    But even though things are mainly okay right now, I know that it will only be a matter of time before something happens. I live in fear of the mail, phone calls and the doorbell. I constantly think that bad news is on its way and this is ruining my life. He had a brush with the law earlier this year and thankfully nothing came of that, but it could have been very serious. I live in fear of the police knocking on my door.

    I don’t want to live like this. Every other part of my life is great. I have a job I love, good friends, a good marriage and two other kids who are both wonderful human beings. I want to enjoy my life. I try very hard to be grateful for the good things I have happening and to live ‘in the moment’. But no matter how hard I try, the dark cloud of what is happening (or may happen) with Fizz always seems to be hovering overhead.

    I’m wondering if therapy has helped others to cope with the fear, guilt and shame of having a child like mine? Have any of you managed to move past it and enjoy your lives despite having a difficult child?
  2. ckay87

    ckay87 Member

    I have no useful advice, but I have considered the same. In a nutshell, the problem with my mindset boils down to my inability to let the disaster my son has made of his life affect my ability to be calm, relaxed and at peace. I lose sleep (most nights) knowing that it's just a matter of time before my son (either of them, really) just comes crashing down. Anyway, it sounds like you are right there with me, for the most part. I think we could benefit from having an educated, objective person to talk to a bit regularly.
  3. MissLulu

    MissLulu Member

    Oh ckay, I’m so sorry you’re in the same place. It’s awful.

    I can’t talk to any of my friends about this. Not properly. I have close friends who are sympathetic, but they don’t really get it. And to be honest, I don’t tell them everything because I’m so ashamed.

    I feel like I need someone to tell me this is not my fault. I lie awake at night going over and over my son’s childhood to see if I can pinpoint where I went wrong.
  4. ckay87

    ckay87 Member

    Oh it's not your fault!! I mean, I get you. I go over things too and there were definitely things I could have done better. My son's father and I fought a lot and never should have stayed (or even gotten) married. But the kids had a nice, modest home. We gave them a TON of support and attention without giving them too much material things.... bla bla bla. At the end of the day, you and I did our best. Many, many, many children grow up in homes where that is not at all the case. I'd bet there are kids who grew up in crack houses who are thriving better than mine are.

    I, too, am surrounded by friends whose kids are at the top of their game. How can I talk to them? I recently lamented to husband and wife friends of ours about what I'm going through. And the husband said something about how they don't have problems like that because they were so strict with their son and they really concentrated all their energy on raising him. Do you have any idea what a slap in the face that is to someone who has done the exact same and who deals with a drastically different outcome?

    And my boyfriend is wonderful, but I don't talk to him much about the topic. He'll ask how my boys are and I'll start talking and immediately feel like I'm losing IQ points just by trying to explain their trainwrecks. lol. I'll say... if this all sounds stupid, that's because it IS.

    Anyway....yes to the therapist.
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I just woke up so I am groggy and only read the initial post. But boy can I FEEL it.

    For over a decade I looked happy and was friendly and worked at our business and went out to social events and tried to enjoy two thriving kids. My husband did too.

    We were dying inside. . I obsessed and worried about only my troubled daughter and if she was having a good or bad day. I took bathroom breaks for crying. Holidays were sad even if she came because she fought and my heart pain for her just throbbed. I worried about drugs, domestic abuse, her child whom she didn't care for properly. My world was Kay.

    Our marriage almost ended as my husband handed his pain in a different way. We grew apart. I questioned God. Yes, I did. I was angry at God.

    I took six months of an SSRI. The doctor wanted me to go for therapy. I told myself that now I was officially crazy, but I went, not expecting relief.

    But my sweet kind therapist who understood addiction reached into my thick skull and eventually I realized that Kay is an addict. She had quit hard drugs, so she said, but used pot so much it was ruining her brain. She has not had one sober day in twenty years. Yes, chronic daily pot brain is addiction. I blamed myself and the fact that she was adopted (her excuse) and tentatively joined Al Anon.

    I did not think I belonged there. Although I couldnt be sure, I thought she smokes pot only and that pot chronically used was not bad enough to sit with other people in Al Anon.

    But the others told me.I belonged there and a few others had just alcohol and pot users like my Kay. And it had ruined their lives too.

    But Al Anon is not about how we can fix our addict. It is about how to fix us and our codependency.

    Kay got worse. We stopped rescuing her and we had been Masters at that. She grew angrier at us but we had to go this route. The other route was killing us.

    Today she is squatting after an eviction and her sister is about to try for custody of my grandson. Very bad for her, sadly, but as a family we are stronger, saner and more peaceful. We can not fix her but we can fix us.

    Go for as much help as you need to function. You help nobody by wearing your child's pain and refusal to heal.

    Things are so much more tolerable now for all of us and we will gladly help Kay if she asks. She knows this too.

    I believe strongly in God so, per my personal beliefs, I hope she hears Him. In my belief system, I gave her to God.

    I pray for her day and night, but my life is good again, although we never forget Kay.

    Blessings to all.
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi MissLuLu.

    Going to therapy can be good but I stress that you must find a therapist that is really good. If you don't feel comfortable with one you need to keep looking until you find one that feels right.
    A good therapist will help you to learn how to navigate through the emotions you are feeling.

    I've been there. There was a time I didn't want anyone to know what was going on with my son. I think it's a very normal reaction but not a healthy one.
    I will only share information about my son to people I know I can trust and who will not stand in judgment of me.
    If I'm in a new setting where I meet new people and that dreaded question - "Do you have children" gets asked, I simply say "yes, I have one son" I do not offer any more about him but if asked "what does your son do for a living" I will respond with something like "he's a jack of all trades" and then I will change the subject or excuse myself from the conversation.
    I have to really know someone well before I share the ugly truth with them.

    Let me ask you these few questions:
    Do you love your son?
    Did you do the best you could in raising him?
    Did you sometimes make mistakes as a parent?
    Have you tried to help your son?
    If you answered yes to these questions then you have nothing to feel ashamed about and the choices your son is making has no reflection on you.
    We as parents can get into a mind set of thinking that we should be able to solve all of our children's problems and if we don't that we must have failed them.
    This is just not true. We raise our kids the very best we can but ultimately, our kids will make their own choices for how they live.
    It's also very common for a difficult adult child to blame all their problems on Mom & Dad and we as the parents have no problem taking on the guilt.
    There is a wonderful saying "Coming out of the FOG" the FOG stands for Fear, Obligation, Guilt
    Once we purge ourselves of these crippling emotions we can then move on with our own lives.

    I'm not sure how old your son is but I'm sure he's old enough to take care of himself. You say that he is mostly following your rules. What is the consequence if he doesn't follow a rule?
    This is where things can go wrong. The boundaries we set are only good if we follow through with a consequence. We as parents have to be willing to follow through no matter how much it hurts our hearts.
    It's much to easy to fall into the role of enabler. When we enable someone we are really hurting them. Sure, it makes us feel better because we don't have to see them suffer but sometimes they need to suffer, the need learn how to navigate life without mommy and daddy always throwing a life preserver to them. It is through our struggles that we learn and grow.

    You will never have the peace you want in your home as long as your son is there. You may want to really consider giving him a time limit, but again, you have to be willing to follow through. Let's say you give your son 6 months, there is an end date and that date gets closer, are you really prepared to follow through?

    We each can only do what we can live with. For me, I decided a long time ago that my life was worth living for me. I had to come to a place of acceptance - accepting that I had zero control over my son's life choices. Accepting that he was going to continue living a homeless, wondering lifestyle. Accepting that he and I my never have a close relationship. Accepting that I did the best I could to help him. Accepting that my life matters and that I'm not getting any younger and deserve to live a life without my son's chaos.

    This is not an easy road to travel but I you will glean much support from the warrior parents on this site.

    ((HUGS)) to you...................
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  7. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Tanya - I like what you wrote. It helps shake me out of my "daze" I can get myself into.

    Younger son has been in communication with me more so lately. It's good but it's bad. Like Ms. LuLu (even with 2+ yrs. of therapy and Al anon under my belt) I still feel sucker punched when in the throws of a crisis with him. His whole life is a crisis. And even when I think I've got it under control I realize I have knots in my neck and when my phone dings and the doorbell bings, I'm a wreck. I feel fine when I've immersed myself in prayer or a good book to help me not enable or is faith filled. I feel like I could move mountains during those moments. But when I have to deal with whatever catastrophy is pending in his life that day, (no food, no gas, he feels lonely, etc.) I often want to crawl back into bed! I am better, believe it or not, but gosh I have a long way to go to not be triggered. I too lie in bed many, many nights wondering why? why? why? Why can't my sons(s) function and go to work every day and have purpose and hope in their lives? It's exhausting.

    Sometimes when I'm around my sons (although not oldest for a while) it's as if I have blinders on and they become my focus over everything else including me.

    It's as if I must constantly be working on myself to not enable, not rescue, not fix and to give them over to God. I so easily can fall back in to old patterns. I wonder if I'll ever be fully recovered?
    CK - I've been divorced two years and I'm not really sure I'll ever meet someone again but I often wonder how can I ever "logically" explain all that's gone on with my sons over the last ten years and come out sounding like I'm sane to someone else. It makes me feel "broken" and I'm not sure someone else could really be part of my world. I also worry if "the way I've been affected" by all that's gone on makes me defective as a partner in some way. Plus, it would probably take me ten years to clearly explain everything that's happened. I wouldn't want to drag the relationship down by explaining but by the same token it's part of who I am now. It's part of my scars.
  8. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I have felt debilitating fear that paralyzed every area of my life. And my way out of that fear and anxiety has been Al-Anon and the 12 steps that I worked throughout the first year of my joining Al-Anon with a sponsor.

    As part of Step 4, I listed my fears and I prayed daily for God to remove them . Step 3 teaches us to have faith which is the opposite of fear. And then I started to challenge my fears (the ones that had to do with my own behavior) and show myself that my fears were untrue. I started going to physicians, spoke in front of people, flew on airplanes. I did this in baby steps. And wash time I challenged a fear and proved to myself that there is nothing to be afraid of but fear itself , I grew and became stronger and trusted my higher power more and more.

    Al-Anon teaches us that fear = false evidence appearing real

    The keyword is "appearing". Fears are constructs of my mind. They are false .When I trust God (=love) , fear cannot exist. It's like walking into a dark room and turning the light on: no darkness can remain.

    The 12 steps lead us to serenity. When I stay in the present moment (this takes practice) , I am no longer afraid . God is in the now. Right now, all is well.
  9. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    MissLulu, this is my exact state. The back of my head always has a buzz in it, waiting for something to happen. It's a terrible state to be in.

    For what it's worth, I went to a counselor for quite some time when my Difficult Child was younger and things were very thick. I also utilized some of the other family support programs in my area. I also went to Alanon. I think a combination of that was helpful. Probably the most helpful was a support program for families with troubled teens.

    Most recently my husband and I have started seeing someone, and I'm on a waiting list to see a counselor on my own again. Maybe it helps me to verbalize, but other times it's just annoyed me. We also have some leads on some resources for grandparents raising grandchildren.

    I'm not sure what will be the most helpful for me - or you. Alanon is easy to slide into if you have some groups in your area. It's worth giving it a try. It wasn't for me, however, but that's just me.

    SO good that you have other areas in your life that are satisfying. You want those to be in the forefront of your heart and mind, and less of the icky stuff. That's one of my goals that I'm working on.

    One thing I've been doing lately is being mindful of the things around me that I enjoy and that bring me peace. 5 minutes of quiet each day with some soothing music. I'd like to get to longer periods, but I'm trying to develop it as habit. I can do that TODAY. I've been doing it for a few days - I need to re-wire my thoughts. I need to spend less time thinking about her and her foolish problems.

    I hope you can find something that helps.
  10. MissLulu

    MissLulu Member

    Thank you all for your kind responses.

    Al Anon is not an option for me. We are in a small town (not in the US) and there isn’t a local group. I have found a support group for carers of people with Borderline (BPD) in a nearby larger town but I’m not sure if that is the answer either. I am in the process of investigating that further.

    I guess I would like to find someone I could tell the whole story to. I can talk to my husband about the situation openly, and we are mostly on the same page, but we’ve been through a period where we seemed to spend every minute we were alone talking about Difficult Child, and I don’t think that’s healthy either. Other than my husband there is no one I can completely confide in. I have told close friends of the basic situation, but there are some things I’m not comfortable sharing - even in a safe space like this forum.

    I guess I’m just hoping that one day I’ll be able to move on and enjoy the good parts of my life.
  11. MissLulu

    MissLulu Member

    ChickPea I’m sorry you feel this way too. It’s awful. But it does help a little to know I’m not the only one. I hope the counseling helps you and your husband.
    And I think you are right about the mindfulness habit. Anything that gives us a break from the torment has to be good, right? I used to run every day and that gave me some peace - time to be in my body and not in my head. The past few months I’ve let that habit slip. Maybe I need to push myself to start again.
  12. MissLulu

    MissLulu Member

    I just wanted to say that I’m still working out how to use the quote function - I’ll get there! - so bear with me. It’s Saturday where I am and I need to go out and get groceries and clean my house but I will be back later to reply to you all. Thank you all for your kindness and wisdom.
  13. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I havent read others posts yet, but I can say therapy has been very helpful for me. I think the right therapist is key. If you dont connect, dont give up, find someone new. That's the beauty of Health Grades and such. I go back when I feel I am slipping, meaning giving into the black vortex. That said, I havent been back in a couple of years. I was close this summer, but the folks here recommended the article on detachment and the book, Radical Acceptance. I have been able to manage on my own, which is a huge leap for me.

    I have been traumatized by my daughters untruthful language. It weakens my resistance, thats the fact. We all do things we wish we could change, but truth is we cant change the past, only what we do today.

    In healing

    “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” Deepak Chopra
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  14. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    @Blindsided Can you expand on that a little, about the untruthful language?
  15. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    My daughter attacks me with unbelievable abusive untrue talk, to the point I sought clarification from her siblings, thinking maybe I was unaware of something I did as a mom. They all have assured me my Difficult Child is delusional. Some of the things she has said are far out there. Like, "it's a good thing I went to the casino ($50,000 on credit cards and no job, ex was paying for her housing) so I wasnt in this mold house so much." Another long story. Let's just say, rushing in from another state to try to help didnt change a thing!

    I have set boundaries as to what I will tolerate, therefore, we dont talk anymore. She projects her behaviors onto me. I understand that is how she is able to cope in her world. I know she needs help none of us can give her, but she has to want it. We have no control over that.
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  16. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Super helpful, thank you.
    My daughter did a lot of this as a child/teenager. It was confusing and hurtful. I'm sorry you're dealing with that. My daughter still says things that make me question my reality.
  17. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Most of us here have gone through the same thoght process it is not your fault. They make poor decisions that get them where they are. They use guilt to manipulate us into doing what they want. I went to a councelor for awhile who helped me to understand that i didn't cause this. It helps.