Tis the season to be judged!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by serenityprayer, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    I thought I would share what happened to me last night....in hopes of giving others comfort that they are not alone.

    Anyhow...our family went to our neighbors house for the first time for Thanksgiving. I thought this would be a less stressful alternative for my difficult child & husband...since difficult child is in the process of become stabilized for COBD and my husband is not on medications though he swears he will get help soon (ha ha). Past Thanksgivings have not been pretty with our extended families for reasons that would take hours to explain, LOL!!!!!!!!!;)

    So last night all was going pretty well at the neighbors besides some minor stuff. Until *cue the scary music* the neighbors brother hid behind a wall and jumped out yelling as loud as he could to scare my difficult child. Mind you...my difficult child does not know the guy...the guy is drunk...and it was so loud that people could have heard it ten blocks away. I did not know what happened until I saw my difficult child standing there in shock, then it was obvious. The brothers wife ran over and they both apologized over and over...she tried to console difficult child which was a joke cuz he was inconsolable at that point. He just doesnt recover from big scares like that! A few days prior husband accidentally stunned him in his room and it turned into a long meltdown. His night terrors, hallucinations and trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy feed an extreme anxiety of his.

    Once it happened (after explaining to the brother and wife it was not their fault and explaining why he scared so easy) I walked him home..he was crying, embarassed and wanted to go home. After several distractions I offered, he seemed to recover rather quickly to my surprise and joy...and he wanted to go back. I realized at that point the medication he takes...risperdal is truly working.

    Back in the neighbors house I was greeted by more apologies and difficult child was just fine...but then I could see everyone (in a discreet way) turning on me:(. I sat down to an hour conversation with my neighbor about how we shouldnt label children and how awesome my difficult child was...that he is sooo gifted and on and on.....a big lecture on how I overreacted. And I truly did not overreact, Ive handled these situations with grace so many times I can not count, LOL. I kept getting talks about how overprotective I was in a round about talked down to way. It was humiliating:ashamed:. And where was my husband? Oh yes...drinking himself into oblivion even though he had promised not to do it.:mad:

    To make a long story short.....the neighbors got drunk, so did my husband, and I had to take both my kids home around bedtime, deal with a meltdown from difficult child, & attitude from my tween easy child. Once I explained to my easy child should could not be unsupervised at the drunk neighbors house, the attitude got better and we spent some quality time together once difficult child was in bed. The best part of the entire day, LOL!!!! My husband did not come home till 1:30am..he never called or cared about us...so typical on the holidays. I stayed up worried until 1:30 am too. So great for my chronic illnesses, LOL..I just have to laugh. NOT.

    Needless to say.....Tis the season to be judged as a parent of a difficult child. A lesson for me not to judge others myself. :sad-very: So much for thinking we had a stress free alternative...what a backfire!!!!!!!!!!:faint:
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I judge that you handled that perfectly! You gave difficult child a chance to recover in private and then allow him to rejoin the party. Great job!!
  3. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Thanks JJJ! :D I dont care what the neighbors or their relatives think..though I would have appreciated they keep their judgements about me to themselves. It made me so uncomfortable and made for a miserable evening of conversations. I wanted to leave early so bad but took one for the team, LOL. I take so many for the team...I want to sit on the bench from now on. If they all only knew. Some of the remarks I heard would have made the hair stand up on so many difficult child moms backs. Unbelievable!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    SP, I think you and I should do TG together next year! I won't serve any alcohol so your husband will not misbehave in that department... and your difficult child can be a difficult child along with my difficult child's :)

    I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. I hope your husband has a nasty hangover to nurse today! It would be just desserts for his difficult child-ness yesterday.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Doesn't it just hoover when others decide that you are just overprotective? THAT is what rhino skin armor is for. You thought stuff rolled off of a duck's back. Just try Rhino Skin - you will be AMAZED.

    The neighbors thought they were being nice. I usually tell them that if they will stop judging me as overprotective then I won't start judging them as alcoholics. By the time I get there I am usually pretty angry. The judging can get to you so easily, esp if family does it to you also.

    Have you been attending al anon? If you are, keep it up. If you haven't, or have lapsed, it really sounds like you may get a lot of support from there. It is really hard to have an alcoholic family member at the holidays.

    You should be able to find your Rhino Skin Armor in the closet. It arrived with your realization that you have a difficult child. Sometimes it gets to the back of the closet if we are not ready for it. Dig yours out and remember, your parenting decisions are no more of their business than their underwear choices are your business. Actually, their opinion of you is none of your business at all.

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    OMG, what a bunch of creeps.
    First they apologize, and then they say you overreacted?
    I'd be going to Shoney's next yr if I were you!
    I am so sorry!
    Does this mean you still have to write a thank you note? ;)
  7. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Wow. I mean, can you spell petty? First of all, they know NOTHING about you, difficult child, or your situation; secondly, you need to understand that there really are small-minded, small-souled people out there, people that will judge you simply because it enables them to huff out their own chest and think themselves better.

    Ultimately being clueless and egotistic is THEIR problem. From where I stand, you've handled a super-difficult day in the best way possible, despite hurdles and put-downs coming at you from all sides. Frankly I admire your calm and fortitude here.

    At least it's over now! Hugs go out to you.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think terry has a good idea...next holiday, go out to dinner at Shoneys!
  9. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Thanks everyone :D

    Your support and encouragement means a lot! I agree...we wont be back there anytime soon, LOL!!!! Oh...and yes thre is a nasty self righteous hangover today. I turned up the music really loud as I was cleaning for a few hours..kids were fighting...it was beautiful ;). It always takes a day or two for the alcohol to get out of his system until he has remorse. Bizarre! I gave him an ultimatum today...one month to make an appointment. with a psychiatrist or I am leaving him. I do not want to break our family up but I can not put the kids through this much longer.

    Ive not been to al-onon (I need to go!) but I am in a study right now called Lifes Healing Choices in my chronic pain support group and it is just like that. I am classically co-dependent. I am the same way with my extended family and made a mess of things that way. I have been learning about my codependency for a few years now and been in therapy, etc. I have been changing my behavior and its not going over well LOL!

    I believe an early Christmas gift arrived today......Rhino Skin!!!!!!! I LOVE it! In fact........I am going to put it right in the front of my closet so I can wear it each day!!!!!!!

    Yep, I agree.....need to hang out with gcvmom! (Is Shoneys a restaurant? lol)

    Creeps is a great word from them...I was shocked at how "talked down to" I was and treated like a child. I might throw tomatoes over the wall. ROFL!
  10. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    TerryJ2...I already wrote the thank you note and put it in the hostess gift I brought last night...darn!!!!!!!!!:laugh:

    I even made a chocolate pie and apple pie (first time Ive ever made pies ha ha) & a big cheese & cracker platter. Someone was so drunk last night that they fell in the street and there is glass and leftover pink jello salad all over in front of our house. It was the drunk brother and my easy child heard the big crash and watched the entire thing..how pathetic!!!!

    I am not being a nice wife today, Lord forgive me but I am just done with his drama. Its all about "him" and "his needs"....I am laughing cuz its the ultimate hypocrisy. The day after a binge he is needy, self righteous and rudely apologetic. By day 2 he is remorseful. Day 3 he is extremely remorseful and can see a clear view of the behavior, full of promises then right back at it the next time. Very sad..please pray for our family:sad-very: I feel bad for difficult child...he is tired from being up late and he senses the tension.
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SP-Sorry it was such a bad Thanksgiving. I had to chuckle out loud that you put the music on loud today. Sending gentle hugs your way!
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, Serenity, Shoney's is a restaurant, LOL! It's a chain, family oriented, very casual. And they're open for Thanksgiving. :)
    LOL about drunk b-i-l with-pink Jello. Oh, what a visual! But, really, I am sorry.
    I would be SO MEAN today! I'd be cranking up the stereo, vacuuming, asking for detailed advice ("Do you know how to do online pay for the local power company? What do you think I should do after Queen to Pawn's 3?" "Do you know where the spare toilet paper is?")
    OMG, I can be so mean.
    Take care ... I am so sorry. I'm just restraining myself from being mean to my difficult child because I still have a bruise on my wrist. I beat him in chess tonight and he was down to a king. That's it. Just. A. King. husband was beside himself, trying to help us out, LOL. That's enough revenge for me.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, just an idea for next year's hostess gift ... a copy of WHY IS EVERYONE SO CRANKY? by Leslie and Harris.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Serenityprayer, I want to offer you an alternative way of looking at their behaviour, it might help you rspond to them without feeling so hostile (which isn't good for you).

    Mind you - I think you behaved perfectly and did exactly the right things, all the way. And I do agree, their 'attack' on you was just plain wrong. But their responses are very understandable - if you can get into their heads and understand why, then you are better equipped to help your own difficult children.

    OK, putting yourself in their shoes - this year they have invited the neighbours. Why did they invite you all? Maybe to be neighbourly, maybe to share the holiday with others from outside the family, maybe they were hoping that the presence of outsiders would help brother stay on better behaviour.

    You guys brought children. Great! Kids really make the holidays, especially for childless relatives who haven't properly grown up. Let's play with the kids! What games do kids like to play? Of course, peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek!

    So brother jumps out on the kids, and really upsets difficult child. OK, he didn't know and/or didn't understand. NOT the reaction he wanted. He made a bad choice and was apologetic. Your reaction - you removed difficult child from an upsetting environment and gave him time out. So what perhaps happened in your absence? THINK. Who was there? What would have been said to explain?
    My own consideration of possibilities - your husband stayed behind. difficult child's apparent over-reaction would have needed to be explained to the neighbours. husband probably was enjoying the company and enjoying the celebration, perhaps annoyed with difficult child for being so touchy and causing a scene. He wouldn't have felt right being annoyed with anybody associated with the host because to be annoyed with the host's family is to be ungracious, so it's easier to blame you, in your absence. Besides, you're the one he's familiar with and it is very true - familairity breeds contempt. It's safer for him to blame you. Just me guessing, mind you. Besides, husband knows how difficult it's been for difficult child, he probably didn't expect you to be back, so anything he said wouldn't have caused a problem for you that night, in his mind. Be aware - this is just me guessing.

    Then you come back. difficult child has calmed down, you've brought him back (not the reaction of someone who over-reacts, in my book - if you were an over-protective mama, you would have stayed away). So, hosts have been perhaps very apologetic to husband in your absence, husband has perhaps said, "Don't worry about it, it happens a lot, frankly I think if his mother would back off a bit he'd learn to take it like a man." Such a statement distances husband from his son's reactiveness (and also distances him from his own diagnosis which he's trying to deny and not deal with). He's trying to shed responsibility for any problems.

    So you're back - and first they apologise. But inside, they are fuming. Mostly at brother, who caused the upset. But also at your difficult child, for being so easily upset. Now, it's not fair to be so angry at a kid who really did nothing wrong, and it's difficult to feel angry at brother without trying to downplay it so they can feel better. And this is what people do - we try to make ourselves feel better. We rationalise. It is what we do. It is why some people are absolutely brilliant at denial - because they have gotten very clever at rationalising, at explaining away the problems, at making excuses, at deflecting blame.

    They can only feel guilty, so long as they accept personal responsibility. And the degree of problem was greater than it should have been. True, brother was VERY noisy but most 'normal' kids would have ended up laughing it off. So the neighbours, while being angry with their brother also, are now a bit annoyed at difficult child's reaction.
    difficult child can't be held responsible, so it must be the mother. And the more they can make themselves feel better by blaming you, the less blame they have to accept on themselves (and on brother). After a while and after more self-justification, they can end up feeling really mellow about the whole thing and at the same time benevolently give you the words of wisdom, try to teach you how to be a better parent. because if you weren't so protective, then your son wouldn't be so reactive and the fun wouldn't have potentially been spoiled by it all. They were also trying to make sure that brother was not in the frame for anything he had done wrong - and by attacking others involved, it's easier to duck out of personal responsiibility.

    It all comes down to everyone trying to play down the problems and help the whole party continue as if nothing had happened. Sure there has to be some collateral damage (ie you), but always when a group of people are chatting together, the characters that get assassinated the most are the ones who are absent. And you were absent.

    Despite my analysis, I do think the neighbours are really nice people. The brother sounds like an immature idiot but every family has one of those. And maybe most kids would have been OK (eventually).

    So don't hate them, try to not feel venom towards them. In trying to tell you that you are over-protective, they were actually trying to make you feel better. And they would only have been acting on the information they had.

    BUT - don't trust them, don't ever confide in them. Because they have shown their colours in terms of their capacity to deny the obvious and to pass blame.

    It is possible to be friends with someone and not confide in them. You can be polite, you can be friendly, you can share jokes. If you are close enough friends you may even be able to say to them, "I know you think I am an over-protective parent - please be assured, you will never succeed in convincing me because I have been parenting my children in my way for X years now, and I am not going to change. So for the sake of our friendship, please change the subject. My son has problems, NOT diagnosed by me. I wish he didn't but I am doing my best to help my son learn to live a happy, productive and functioning life. Sometimes there will be problems - I don't blame anybody for this and neither should anyone else. Life is not perfect. So please respect my choices here, as I would respect yours with regard to your own child-raising methods. This topic is off-limits, but that still leaves many more things we can talk about safely."

    I speak from experience. I've had this problem myself, from close friends and even members of my own family. People I couldn't cut out of my life, people who would never listen but would always criticise me and blame me. Because of my own physical disability (it sounds very similar to yours), people have often joined the dots when there really was no real connection. I have been asked, "Why did you have kids, if you knew that your physical illness would be passed on to the kids as autism?"
    It's a question that shows seriously flawed pre-conceived ideas that are so wrong, it's hard to know where to start. So I often don't. About all I say is, "My disability has nothing to do with the kids' autism. My body may be damaged but my mind is a steel trap. On top of this, my kids did not develop autism because they live with a woman with a physical disability. They were born this way. I was not."

    And I leave it at that.

    A serious suggestion - this WILL happen again. And again. So plan now, think of things to say, with humour, next time someone says you are an over-protective parent. Try to make your response a humorous attack on the attacker, along the lines of, "Wow! I am amazed at your clear wisdom and deep experience. Afer all these years of seeing specialists, the money we've wasted, the school meetings, the Special Education, the hospitalisations - and all I needed to do was come over here and find out what nobody else has been able to help us with! We'll have no problems from here on, I see the light and I'm sure any problems will now totally evaporate. I guess I can let all the specialists know that their medical degrees were wasted effort, the greatest wisdom of all has come from someone with no medical training whatsoever."

    And if they don't recognise your sarcasm for what it is, leave it. Because it will have proved your point to the one person who really matters here - YOU.

    So come here and vent whenever you need to, whenever you get some idiot who tells you that they have the miracle answer re your child, the problem is you and all you need to do is learn to be a good parent. Because it WILL happen again. And again. This is human nature, unfortunately.

  15. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Thanks Wipedout :D...it was fun to play the music and I also asked him to finish the vacuuming and mopping...ha ha he could not refuse. He always tries to act just fine but I could tell he was really hungover hurting!

    TerryJ2...you are soooo funny! I really got some giggles from your post!!!!:tongue: I am going to get a copy of that book for next year, LOL!!!!!!!! Yay for chess!!!!!!!!!;)

    I can completely see what you are saying...you are so sweet to write so much to help me, thank you so much! Your advice pretty much mirrors my attitude about it..in fact it is truly my own fault for going over there anyhow. Of course I think the drinking problems and lack of parenting to their own kids will not be present on a holiday...how codepependent of me, lol. When it comes down to it...they have always had an extreme "superiority complex" with everyone...not just me. I did feel bad about the drunk brothers behavior but I will say it was not the normal "boo" or peek a boo situation...thats what made it so unreal. It was so loud and disturbing that the entire house stopped in horror. Like a bomb had hit the house....people all over the city had to hear it! In his drunk stuper he also told me he has tried it with his son outside earlier and the poor 5 year old kid fell backwards and hurt himself...so that did not stop him from doing it with my difficult child...ummmm that is the 10 shots talking LOL!!!!!!!!;)

    Wow..the drunk host (drunk brothers sister LOL) is the one who got me the worst..you should have heard her telling me to just look (seriously insisted on me staring at him) at my son...he is so smart and gifted...like I am abusing him. She went on and on about how she has had conversations with him before and he is an old soul who has lived so many lives and way smarter then us cuz he looks up as he talks...tapping into wisdom unlike others. That she hears him when he is melting down cuz we live so close and insenuating I am overreacting. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:laugh: I did not even try to defend myself because she was drunk. What was sad is that most of the kids were upstairs the entire time stuck in a room while the adults partied hardy. No gametime or involving the kids in anything...so unlike our family, it was so sad to me.:faint:

    I agree....I think husband was a big part of the problem...he was drunk and was talking to the host when I came back in. I can only imagine how bad the talking got later on that night when inhibitions were really gone. As soon as I came back in..she grabbed me and sat me down where husband had been talking to her and started in on me. Happy Thanksgiving to me! LOL!!!!!!!! The worst part is how bad the kids felt when Daddy did not come home on Thanksgiving and I dealt with some serious meltdowns. :sad-very:

    Funny, cuz they had asked my husband about coming to Thanksgiving a month prior and he said he would talk to me. I told him we could walk over for an hour or so to say hi...then in front of me a week or so ago she asked again and he said absolutely & said what we were bringing etc. as I watched in horror. I should have put my foot down right there...but I remember being out of it on pain medications from my illness and I could not fight. Then I told myself it would be ok cuz I would not have to cook. LOL!!! The lies we tell ourself, ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement and love........I so appreciate it!!!!!!!! I am sure I will be able to bring some crazy stories in the future LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HUGS :D
  16. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Honestly that would scare the daylights out of any child..difficult child or easy child. If there is ever a next time...someone your child doesn't even know (or even if they know the person) that scares him on purpose. Don't explain about his problems unless you are good friends with them. What they did would scare any child after to death and set them on crying and being very upset. His reaction was normal! I mean, I would freak out if some drunk man I didn't know did that to me. I wouldn't go back either.

    I do dislike self-righteous people very much indeed. Here they are drinking but think they can lecture you. ugh!!! Given the situation I think you handled it as well as you could.

    As far as ala-non meetings goes...have been to them. What they teach is basically how to live with a drunk..how to tolerant it...how to go on with your life without them even though you are still together. Made little sense to me actually. Why not really move on and leave? No one is that capable of detaching that much all the time...and especially not children. :( I hope your husband listens and takes you seriously .
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think one of the important things these various co-dependent support groups teach is the importance of establishing your personal boundaries and bottom-line behaviors. These are deal-breaker situations and lines you absolutely refuse to cross, no matter what. Until you can clearly identify what those are, and articulate them to your "qualifying" person (If you cross line X, I will do Y), you're likely to continue in the cycle of co-dep behavior. Once you've identified those boundaries and clearly laid it out to the other person, you have to be prepared to follow through on your "Y" action. That truly is the hardest part for co-dep's (in my own personal experience, anyway).

    It all boils down to being true to yourself and honoring your word to the other person. In the addict's case, their biggest problem is not being true to themself or the people around them.

    SP, I hope he hears you and realizes the severity of the situation he's in and what's at risk. And I pray for your courage, strength, and wisdom!
  18. serenityprayer

    serenityprayer New Member

    Thanks gcvmom and moonglow!

    I think those meetings would be great and I agree about the boundaries, etc. husband drinks in binges among other compulsive behaviors...gambling and going to bars etc. Then add on the bi-polar highs and lows..irritability, snapping at someone innappropriately, never sleeping, etc. and its a miracle Ive made it thru the 13 years of marriage. Good news is he has a clear boundary of one month to get help for the Bipolar, compulsions etc. or the marriage is done. If he does get help, then it will be up to God to bring our marriage back to life. The worst part about a divorce would be difficult child....I think he would land himself in the psychiatric hospital...but there is nothing I can do about it. God will get me thru and worry wont help me an hour! husband did try to call the psychiatrist dept. yesterday but they were closed..so I think he will do it. It is all up to him, I wont be his mom anymore. I refuse to let him isolate me and take away every single holiday of joy.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    That jumping out and yelling? would have had me over at their house every hour or two asking them to come and console my child who is terrified - except that they would ridicule him.

    husband accepted the invite? Fine. If he does it again, send him. You and the kids can do something fun.

    I refuse to stay at parties where there is nothing available for the kids to do. I have been called oversensitive and crazy and many other names. Usually by relatives.

    The whole dynamic with the alcohol seems that it would be very scary to the kdis involved.

    Enjoy your rhino skin. Did you find the extra bottle of No dust? The Rhino skin has a special dusting of No dose you will be able to say no and ignore the whining, arguing and other problems. The dose that was applied before the suit was given to you probably needs no supplementation, but may need a touch up if you find yourself once again dithering about a decision because someone will get upset or not like you if you say no. Just a light dusting and you will be saying No right up there with Nancy Reagan and her friends!!
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's it exactly. There are people like that around the world. Some of them are my best friends, some of them I avoid.

    One of my best friends occasionally takes me to task over my children, even though her own two kids are far from prfect (and she won't always acknowledge it). But in her case I hang in there for the times when she is NOT in denial and for the stimulating conversations we have. She is a loving person but so often in "fix it" mode. This gets her into some awful trouble as she tries to sometimes fix people who have no intention of accepting that they need fixing...

    It's like so many of our relationships. If there is enough else in there for us to put up with the shortcomings, then we put up with it. But if it's just not worth the heartache, we in future smile politely but make it clear, we have other demands on our time.

    I don't think you can avoid gatherings in the future but perhaps a good tactic would be to avoid get-togethers for events as important as Thanksgiving (which from my vantage point in Australia seems the most important of the year to people in the US, more important than Christmas) and to also keep it short and sweet. Leave them wanting more of your company, not wishing for you to leave. And vice versa.

    So when husband accepts an invitation for the future, smile and say, "Hang on honey, I think you forgot - we've already agreed to spend time with X family. at least I think it's that weekend. Tell you what, neighbours, we'll go home and check our diary, see if there is some way we can spend some time with you that day. It will be so good to be able to, but we may have to leave early. So sorry, we would have loved to spend the whole time with you."

    That gives you the option of discussing this in private between you and husband.

    The thing is, it's a facet of his BiPolar (BP) for him to either be carefree and full of bravado, what in Australia we call the "she'll be right, mate" attitude and the more aggressive almost paranoid, "You never want me to have any fun" attitude.

    He tries to put you on the parent pedestal but at the same time resents your constant parenting (as he sees it). This is what I was picking up on, from what you said I'm even more convinced that hostess's reaction was very much a case of what she heard him say (whether it is actually what he said or not) coupled with her need to see you as a worse parent than she privately fears herself to be.

    I repeat - you did nothing wrong. even in going back - you did nothing wrong. Do not blame yourself in any way. Some people are like this, it is not your fault. You need to keep reminding yourself of this because in your last post you were still blaming yourself.