Things are kind of stable here right now (if living with this son of mine can ever truly be called "stable"!) Difficult Child is working full time and looking for accommodation. He currently lives with us but we have all agreed he needs to find his own place. He has a friend (also working) to move out with, and the two of them have been putting in rental applications, but so far have had no luck. He's not drinking or using drugs on our property. I have no idea what he does on weekends because he's often not here, but at home he's been sober and I'm not seeing evidence of drug use - ie he hasn't come home visibly high. So, I should feel calm and happy, but I don't. I live in fear. Fear of the next meltdown, the next crisis or the next time one of his past decisions is going to come back to haunt us all. I try my best to focus on the positive and to take each day as it comes. I try hard to distract myself and push the negative thoughts into the background. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I think a lot of this comes from guilt and shame. My whole life I've identified as a "good person". (I suppose everyone thinks this about themselves!) But I've always been someone who wanted to help others. Both my parents were very community minded and volunteered in a number of capacities. I have always sought to emulate this. When it came to parenting, I focused on raising kind and caring children, who respected themselves, others and the law. Never in a million years did I dream I would be the parent of a child like my Difficult Child. (I'm sure none of us did!) I feel as if being the parent of a child that behaves like mine cancels out every good thing I've ever done. (I realise this is not true, but it's how I FEEL, rather than how I THINK.) I can't seem to stop thinking about the things he's done in the past and what he might do in the future, even though right now he seems okay. I know I need to move past this. I ruminate over his mistakes and mine too. I wonder about all the things I might have done differently and whether these might have made a difference. To be clear I don't ever express these thoughts to my son. We have a good relationship at the moment. He eats a meal with us each day and contributes to civil dinnertime conversation. He abides by our house rules and speaks pleasantly to us and his 16 year old brother. Even so, I feel so beaten down by being his mother. Some days I'm okay and other days (like today) I feel paralysed by fear and grief. I want to forgive my child and move forward but I'm not sure I'll ever fully be able to do that. I also feel as if I'm being punished for being judgemental in the past. I used to believe that kids who behave the way my son does must have had a bad upbringing or some other sort of trauma in their childhood to account for their behaviour. I would never have verbalised this and (I hope) have always been outwardly sympathetic to other parents' struggles, but inside I always believed that if parents did the right thing and loved their children wholeheartedly, the kids would turn out fine. The fact that this simply isn't so has been a humbling (and humiliating) revelation for me.