Trying to Detach...again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I went without contact with our son for a week, and as usual for me, by Friday I was missing him and unblocked him from my phone and sent a message to him. His response was to tell me to leave him alone. I texted back, "I'm sorry you feel that way." His response, "I don't want anything to do with you. Leave me alone. Please" Yesterday, I texted him and said, "I wish things weren't this way between us. "I'm sorry, it's just that I miss you." Then he said, again, "F*** off you dumb a** bi****. LEAVE ME ALONE."

    My husband is irritated with me for contacting him again (can't blame him), but I can't seem to let go. I just feel like I'm in shock. Questions like, "how did we get to this point?" "What if I never see him again?" "What if...what if...and on and on. How did something which seemed like the greatest blessing in our lives (his adoption) turn into something that feels like the worst thing that has ever happened to us? The loss is so great. The pain is so much. I just don't know how to do this.

    How do all of you who have little or no contact deal with the possibility of never seeing them again? Because I know that is a possibility and it is tearing me apart. I keep falling for the lie that I can somehow reach J with "the right words" but he really does hate us and doesn't care about us. How long has he felt that way and I just didn't see it? It makes me feel like all the good memories and times as a family were nothing but a figment of my imagination. It's just so confusing.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Beta

    I could have written so much of your post. I am tired now so can't write much, but I will say this. My adopted son and I do the same dance. I too cannot bear to be disconnected from him. Even when I initiate the time out, and feel strong and sure, within a month or six weeks, my defenses erode and I dissolve. I miss him. I worry about him. But mostly, I cannot live without contact of some sort.

    My son is initially insulting, then indifferent, and now he is back here in a rental I own. I will not see him and don't want to talk to him, but at least he is where I know he is safe and nearby.

    I do not believe your son really feels what he says. I think these guys have a whole lot of confusion and hurt about being adopted, mental illness, race, in my own son's case, his self-destructive birth parents who made him ill, and he just doesn't know how to think about himself. He projects his rage at his birth parents onto me, the only parent he has known. I am the scapegoat. He blames me for how he feels (less so now) because i am the only one he has to put this onto. I get the overflow from his own distress.

    My son is a J too. I don't think that right words will reach my boy, but nonetheless I try, too. I think our sons know how much we love them, and that they love us too. But the love is temporarily drowned out by all of the conflict and confusion and low self-worth they feel.

    My own son is mellowing some. A lot of it is marijuana, which worries me. But i think the intensity is softening of what he is dealing with. Or he is learning how better to tolerate it. I don't know.

    I think we need to be gentle with ourselves and not to have the expectation that it be one pole or another. Distance is required when we are being mistreated or when they are being self-destructive. And strong boundaries. I see nothing inconsistent at all in reaching out with love. Even when they are rejecting, they still are able to feel our love, I believe. We cannot however define ourselves and the story of our lives, by their rejection. We need to hang onto ourselves, to build ourselves up. And have faith and hope that they will right themselves. I know how hard it is. But what choice do we have?
  3. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I have had various periods of no contact with my daughter lasting as much as 3 or 4 months. This was years ago, and it actually did me some good. It forced me to work on myself and my issues, find ways to enhance my life and realize my life is MY life regardless of what my daughter does or does not do. I sort of had a jump start doing it because I previously had a very chaotic relationship with my parents and was in therapy over that. My counselor said my goal needed to be to get me to a place where I am fine whether my parents are in my life or not. I worked hard to develop trust and belief in myself and I had no contact with my parents for around 3 years. And I was fine. So I knew I had to approach my relationship with my daughter in the same way. It is not easy and I had plenty of days and nights of crying and worry- especially about my granddaughter. But it forced me to focus on myself and I am better off for it. I know it's difficult, but sometimes you need a break. It can help both of you and make your relationship better in the long run. I have a very good relationship with my parents now. It's not my ideal, but I had to come to terms with their limitations and decide if I wanted the relationship we could have. I've come so far that even my parents can rarely push my buttons anymore. Sending you peace.
  4. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you both for your responses. Our oldest son, J, is biracial. He identifies as black only however. He is very anti-white. His birth mom told me that she was Bipolar, although I don't know if she was officially diagnosed, and she is no longer alive, but I think he definitely has some traits of Bipolar. I don't know what to think--sometimes I think he genuinely hates us, and other times I think he is confused, bitter, and angry, and we are the easy scapegoats for his anger. He has said some vicious things to us about his adoption--"I wish you had never adopted me." "You only adopted me so you could have a pet to entertain you." Whew. That's pretty hurtful.
    At this point, NOTHING I say makes any difference in his response. I can tell him a hundred times how much I love him, miss him, beg him to come here and let us provide at least shelter for him, etc. All of it makes no difference to him at all. He only responds with hatred and abuse.
    I wake up in the night every night and I pray for him each time. Sometimes I cry in bed. Right now, I'm just trying to get through each day without being overcome with worry and sadness. I'm posting here because it seems to help to put it down in print and to know that others have some of the same pain I feel.
  5. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I'm so sorry that you are hurting so badly and that your son is being cruel to you.

    I do hope that someday you will be able to have some comfort in knowing that you have done everything humanly possible to have a relationship with your son and that will give you peace.
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Beta, the only way I have been able to come to terms with this is through acceptance.
    I too played the "what if" game to the point I was losing sleep. Always wondering and worrying. I finally had to accept that yes, my very worst fear could come to pass. I had to accept that he could die and I may never know.
    For me, it comes down to this, I'm either going to live my life to the fullest or I'm going to waste my life worrying about things that I have zero control over.
    In order to maintain my own sanity I have to stay detached from my son. I will always love him but he is toxic to me and I must keep my distance.
    Don't be too hard on yourself. This is not easy and it takes time. You will get there.
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  7. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    RN and Tanya, thank you two for the time you took to encourage me. I think this is the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life. Right now, I'm trying to really lean hard on God and His love for me. Some days I do better than others.
    I don't want to look back on my life and realize I've wasted it worrying, obsessing, letting the grief dictate each day, and being in despair. You're right, this is something that will take time. It is something of a journey, and not one I would have chosen (nor would any of you either) but here we are. I'll keep popping in to read and to learn from each of you. The wisdom I've found here has been a huge help to me. I don't feel so alone anymore.
  8. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Dear Beta, I feel your hurt and pain and I understand each and every word you have wrote. There are no words to describe the intense pain, agony and confusion a mother feels when being disrespected and horrified by the actions of an off track adult child. No matter what we fill our time and energy with our child keeps coming to the forefront because the love for them keeps coming to the forefront. I work on just that, trying to find balance and try to mend my heart on a regular basis. I cry often and lately at least once a day, the tears clear my head and I feel the pressure release. I do have to tell you that when I made the decision to cut ties with my daughter for 3 months, I mean cut and severed, I felt immediate relief and I gained my self respect back. I cried often sometimes 3 times a day but dealing with her awful attitude and abusive words were too much for my heart. My daughter treated me so bad that I am embarrassed to admit I had tolerated it as long as I did and I worked on it and with it for many years until I just could not do it anymore. I took down the pictures of her in my home and completely disconnected from her and if she decides to ever get to those levels again, I will cut her out again and she knows this.. The way she treated me was a living death and I had to make it end.

    After a while and with me being absent she began to change slowly and for the better. I was ok if that was going to be the end of our relationship because the abuse was so bad that it was making me ill in all areas. Do I really want a person in my life that is so awful?

    How I allowed her back into my life is a wonder of the world. I love her dearly but hated the abuse. Had I not seen a definite change I would still not be talking to her.
    Beta, I understand that nothing or no one can take the place of your child, a child you have given your all to. The rejection is what is so painful and the fact that most of us have done nothing but been kind and loving to that child. I would NEVER allow anyone to treat me like my daughter did, I would never have anything to do with them yet I made exceptions for my daughter.

    I have read so many stories that these troubled children take major advantage of their aging parents. I have to constantly protect myself and finances from my own daughter.

    When my son was alive I knew 500% that he would have had our best interest in mind when making decisions about our care. I trusted him knowing that he loved us deeply and would never abuse or harm us in ways that our daughter has. Even though my son was almost 14 when he passed, he was mature, loving, kind, honest and genuinely cared deeply for us and all his loved ones. I miss him so much.

    Just the other day I told my daughter I would buy her a pair of pants for her up coming birthday. She grabbed 3 pair and put them in my cart. I said one pair of pants.. I paid for all 3 of them and did not say a word because I was afraid of a major fight. I am ashamed of myself for not sticking up and saying I was going to pay for just one pair. This week I am going to therapy to find out why the H I did not stick up for myself when she was taking advantage again. It is close to my son's death date and I get feeling very weak and not wanting conflict. I am actively working on this problem of mine and doing away with it.
    Sorry to get off track with your post Beta, just want you to know I know the depth of your pain, my deepest sincere prayers are with you.
  9. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Newstart--thank you for your heartfelt response. I can sense very easily the pain you too feel. I just want to say first that your son sounded like a wonderful person and I am sorry he is not with you now. I have to wonder at myself sometimes as far as why it's so hard for me to disengage myself from someone who does not care for me or respect me and who is abusive. I'm hoping and praying that our absence in his life might be for his good, but as Tanya said above, there is the very real possibility that I may never see him again or hear from him again and I might never know what happened to him. That's what is really hard. I think that I let him abuse me at times because at least I know that he's alive and I have SOME communication. I know that sounds crazy--do I really think so little of myself that I would tolerate his behavior just to have contact? I'm grappling with that right now. I'm reading "Codependent No More" and I'm hoping it will give me some insight into the issues within myself that keep me attached to him.
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  10. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Beta I think we keep trying with our troubled kids because family is everything and a well working funtional family is the biggest gift there is. I used to tolerate heavy abuse because it was the only communication I would have but it reality it was just dead communication that was very damaging to both of us. I decided NO contact was better for both of us. When I made the decision to go no contact I felt better immediately like tons got lifted off my shoulders. It took me years to get to that decision, but once I made that decision I went 100% with no back tracking. My daughter called her dad and asked if I would ever talk with her again. I prayed for my daughter often but felt so much relief not hearing her abusive words or actions or having to listen to her daily dramas or trying to get money from me. I remember telling my daughter she was a nightmare right before I cut ties.
    I would and will do it again if she gets that bad. My daughter is always on the verge of doing something awful to me but stops herself because she knows I can and will cut her off.. Even now she does rude things to me but not as awful as years before.
    I pray you have the strength to make the abuse end.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Beta, I am so sorry that you or any of us are dealing with this. It is tough to have our kids grow into adulthood with issues that shift our relationship with them.
    With me it is akin to a grieving process, the difference being our kids are still walking this earth. That makes it infinitely more difficult, because there are possibilities.
    Trying to make sense of any of it is mind boggling, because it makes no sense. I can say, it’s the drugs, or mental health issues either caused by drug use or maybe pre existing, who knows?
    Whether it be a biological child, or adopted, the plain truth is that none of us could have imagined this being down the road as we held them, poured all of our love and hearts toward raising them.

    Simply put.
    Kids grow up and seek their own lives.

    My eldest is 39, I have not seen or spoken with her since last summer. The other day, she called her sister asking if my number had changed, said she was thinking of visiting. It’s been a few days.............nothing.
    It becomes at times like a cruel game. I don’t think that is always their intent, but.......
    I have to look at what my reaction is.
    I have to admit, fear of reconnecting is there, yes I miss her, but so not the chaos and drama. Hope that maybe she is ready to get off the streets? Relief that she is alive. Wondering what she wants.
    Then I judge myself as cold and indifferent. Then I defend myself, reminding myself that it has been a long hard road and I have to protect my heart. So much more running through my head, as I go about the daily grind.
    All of this over a phone call that wasn’t my conversation in the first place.
    Round and round we go.
    And so it is.
    It has been years for me, with two off the rail adult kids.
    So, I try to honor my own feelings and process them. Each time, I get a little stronger. I have my moments, slip ups, I fall. I get up.
    I feel you, the sadness, dismay, wanting to keep relationship, the yearning for things to be, just regular. Wanting to know how your son is doing, the unanswered questions just running rampant. We have all gone through, and sometimes (for me at least) still go through this.
    This is the thing. Keep working on yourself, build yourself up. You walk this path and you are not alone, but you will figure out a way to make it your journey.
    I have to believe that there is something to be learned from being here. That’s the only way I can make some sense out of it all. Maybe it’s that along the way in raising them, we’ve lost a part of ourselves. We lose more of ourselves iniatially trying desperately to solve issues we have absolutely no control over. Then even more as we become their targets, and allow abuse.
    Maybe in finding our way back to ourselves, to our own potential and meaning, we shine the light for them to do the same.