Trying to prepare myself for what's next

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    So difficult child has his court date June 25 and he will find out what the consequences of his recent arrest and charges will be in terms of his probation. They told him back in February that if he got arrested again he could go to prison because all bets would be off ref probation. There was what they call "language" added by the judge that signifies this. So as you know he was arrested for shoplifting, served sixty days for that charge, and now they have appointed a lawyer for him and that case will be heart June 25.

    SO says to prepare that he will NOT go to prison, but that he will be given yet another chance and let go.
    Ugh. So, I realize that could happen, which means the merry-go-round keeps on turning, he's homeless again, etc. Ugh. I would rather him go to prison for safety's sake and for my sake, but I don't get to choose this, like so many other things when it comes to difficult child. And I know that the reality of prison is different from the idea of prison. I am sure I would/will be upset if that occurs as well. the spirit of trying to prepare so I am not blindsided by all of this, I have spent today resting and reading and listening about recovery, detachment, letting go and acceptance.

    It's been a weird day, but I could not get focused to work and finally I just accepted that. Tomorrow I will work.

    Here is what I would like to be able to do and say to difficult child after June 25 (whatever happens):

    Well, honey, okay, now you know what's next for you. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks and months and I have realized some things I never saw before.

    You have made a lot of choices and decisions that I haven't understood. It's been hard for me to accept the life that you have been living, and very painful to watch you live on the street and keep going back to jail.

    But now I realize that you have a right to do whatever you choose, and that includes living on the street and going back to jail.

    I want you to know that I am not going to judge what you do anymore or try to get you to change or do anything different. You are a grown man. Your life is your choice.

    It's still hard for me, so I want to stay in touch but we need to go slow and give each other some space and time.

    I love you very much and I will always wish you the best. That will never change.


    I have been trying to see difficult child's life from a different perspective. He wants drugs. That is clear. He can't stop. That is clear. He doesn't see that as a problem. That is clear. He thinks he is handling that fine.

    When he doesn't have a place to live or he shoplifts because he says he is hungry or he doesn't have any money, THOSE are problems, and then he wants someone else to solve them or someone else has caused them.

    I don't know if he connects the dots between the drug use and the resulting problems. It doesn't seem like he does.

    So all I know is that I can't solve those problems for him because they are never-ending and I can't raise him again (he's a grown man)---already raised him once. I can't make him stop taking drugs either, that is clear.

    So I just want to find a way to relax into this, love him without conditions and see him as much as I can stand to see him.

    If it keeps on like this, it keeps on. If it changes, it changes. I want to expect either situation or nothing to happen. I also want to realize, but not dwell on, the fact that things can get worse, and might. That there are things worse than dying. I don't want to spend any real time on any of that, except to recognize it, because I can't know what might happen and I can't prevent it or control it anyway. I just don't want to be naive.

    I'm not saying I have fully embraced or accepted the above, but I would LIKE to get to that point.
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  2. Terryforvols

    Terryforvols Member

    Praying and thoughts with you.

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  3. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    COM, I am experiencing a similar situation with difficult child 1. (difficult child 2 is currently in a psychiatric ward after they found grandson in the lake. Just wanted to clarify...I have 2 very active difficult children). He has been found fit to stand trial and is now transferred to the county jail. He thought he would be out in 8 days, but I checked the website and it said his trial is the 2nd week of July. I am relieved he will be there longer.

    I love the dream conversation you wrote that you wanted to have with your son. I am going to be using it when he does finally get out. He may face jail time or it may be time served. I don't know. I just know that he is not right. He has no substance abuse problems, but the medications aren't right. He will make no effort to have them fixed as I am sure he plans to go off them immediately upon release.

    There is a very good book called "I'm not sick and I don't need help" also another I just read is called Hungry. The former takes a kinder, gentler approach to dealing with mental illness/addiction. I plan on reading it again. If I can't change his approach to his condition, I still want to keep in contact with him and not have a confrontational relationship. The latter is by Dr. Robin Smith about how we stuff our feelings and make ourselves smaller to please the people in our lives. Boy I'd recommend it to anyone who is on this board.

    The thing I experience with my difficult child's is that they know my soft, white underbelly. They know my vulnerabilities and what they can say to make me dance. Would your difficult child use your wanting to keep in touch with him as a way to manipulate you or make you miserable? Mine would. One out of illness and one out of substance abuse and just being smarmy.

    When they were pre-affliction they were sweet, demonstrative, responsible young men with a bright future ahead of them. And I was 10 years younger and 40 lbs lighter. I fear that the stress, tension, walking on eggshells, over-thinking everything I say and do will have a negative effect on my health. And they aren't going to be there either way.

    It's heartbreaking and I am sad that you are going through this. As a significant date looms large the tensions grow and grow. Mine will peak in July, yours is right around the corner. Please keep taking care of yourself. You sound so strong and clear in your plan. Stick to it. You can't predict his reaction, but you can say what you need to with kindness. That will leave you completely blameless and hopefully keep you off the hook when you replay it in your mind over and over again as we all tend to do.
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  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The tone is loving and kind. I think an important piece of surviving what is happening to our children over the long run is choosing the intention to love them, and to love ourselves and our lives. It gets harder to love them with warmth and sincerity, harder to remember who they might have been, harder to remember what was lost. They bring us so little happiness, so little sense of a job well done.

    All the good, day to day things that build adult relationship in other families do not happen, in our families. The family dinners, the holidays spent together, the sight and sound and feel of a successful child reflecting well onto us ~ we will need to count ourselves very fortunate indeed to have these things to comfort us, to provide successful, instead of shameful, identity for us, as we go on from here.

    Without loving and successful children, it will be difficult for us to feel we have contributed something worthwhile to the world, and that we are worthwhile, ourselves. Holding an intent to love, cherish, and uphold ourselves while loving our wayward kids without judging them for who they are ~ wow, that is a hard thing.

    That is a choice each of us makes in her heart, where no one can see. And yet, it will be the choice that determines who we become from this point.

    So I would like to see you add something to that effect to your mission statement, COM. Something about cherishing and nurturing and choosing joy for yourself; maybe something about committing to believing there is a purpose here, though we may never see it.

    Tish, thank you for the book suggestions. I will read them.

  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you posted, Child, you know I have been thinking of you and wondering how this month of June, this year of wonders, is going for you.

    I am with you in effort here...I think you are better, further along with this, than my core I cannot accept that difficult child has a right to choose these things...I am trying to expiate that, but not getting there. I can accept that he IS choosing these things and I can't stop him...I can't get to the point that that is his right.

    Yes, this part is crazy true. My difficult child asks me repeatedly "how do I seem to you? how do you think I'm doing?" This is clearly because he believes that I am going to acknowledge to him that he is doing well (it usually comes up when he has identified a job he plans to apply for, or some one has given him a warm sleeping bag (which he will promptly discard), or he found a place that will let him shower). My dear, my are doing lousy. But he thinks he is handling it fine. Or so he says. Really I don't know what he thinks. Ever. That is part of the problem..the obfuscation, lying, lack of insight. I know those are all judgment terms..I just don't know what else to call it. Sometimes I feel like I"m being gaslighted into thinking he is doing OK..

    I really, really hope for you that you find this place.
    I need to say that again...I really really hope for you that you find this place.

    Tish, I opened Amazon on my computer while I was reading your post, and ordered this. Thanks!

    Cedar, thank you for that addition. We know that Child is committed to this...we have a band of folks here on the board who know this and work on, me, recovering, seeking, albie, mwm, lucy, so many others..but writing it down is important. Otherwise it will take second place, or third place, or be lost in some time of crisis. So thank you for highlighting it to Child, and to all of us.

    Blessings on you today, Child, Cedar, Tish, all. Blessings on you and on our difficult children.

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  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Tish, I have ordered both in real book format, not Kindle. I like to highlight things in these "self-help" books, so thank you for these ideas. I will read them.

    Exactly. Well said. Well put. When we do spend 10 minutes together----that was successful last time---10 minutes in the car together once a week---I don't want to have a bunch of stuff that I blurt out about him needing to do something different or even a whole bunch of stuff in my head, unsaid, that I am obsessing over. I want to be in the moment and for that moment to be as good as it can be.

    Well, yes he would. I found last time (last time before he got arrested, which was about 45 days on the street) that we could have a decent time together if it's in very small doses. Which was a revelation to me because before that time, that was not the case. I attribute it to me being different and him hearing me a bit that I'm not going to do anything so stop asking me.

    But, when he ramps up, then the assault comes---I need, please do, please give, can you....blah blah. And I do believe and now understand that every single time I do something for him, even the smallest of things, it opens the door in his mind to other, bigger things. I don't know what to do about that because I am still resisting a complete disconnect from him.

    I would like to approach him with my hands open, nothing in them, and let him see that I am willing to spend time (very short for now) with him, but that is it. No money, no stuff, no help, no nothing. Just me and my time.

    Yep. That is correct. That is a huge revelation for most of us, when we start to see that it really needs to be about us because they are grown people and they are going to do whatever they decide to do. We really are not a factor. But wow, doesn't it take so freakin' long for us to start understanding that?? So long.

    I keep thinking of this: Only kindness matters. Only kindness matters. Only kindness matters. Not with difficult child but with all of my relationships.

    Choosing the intention. Making choices. Making decisions. Quit letting things "happen" to us with difficult child. Quit being blindsided by their drama and their decisions. Quit being the victim here, i.e., he is doing this to me. He isn't doing anything to me. He is doing this all on his own. I did nothing to create or influence this, except help him too much for too long.

    He is completely separate from me, and he is making these choices.

    We can't begin to imagine the hundreds of scenarios they can and will get involved in. We cannot possibly get our minds around their minds. I don't even know my son anymore. I have no idea what he thinks about.

    In order to do this, I have to completely let go of him. My son is not usually mean or unkind or unpleasant to be around. In fact, he is usually very sweet and loving. That is how I want to be with him.

    I cannot imagine what God is thinking here, but I know that is not for me to understand. I do trust that he is all good and all loving and only wants the best for every single person on the planet.

    That was a huge "getting to place" for me Echo. It is his right. At age 25 (on July 27) he is a grown man. I get that more than I ever have before. It is his right. It is still stupid, awful, shocking, unnecessary, etc. etc. etc. That is where the 10 minutes comes in. Very short blocks of time. I can be kind. It still costs me, but not as much, every time.

    That is still painful, to look at my precious son and to realize I have very little knowledge of him and his life. That is still very sad to me. Part of it is just the fact that I have never even lived for a few minutes the life he is living. I cannot fathom it because I have not been there. I have not thought like that. I have not lived like that. I just can't know that life. It is like being with someone from Indonesia who lives in a hut beside a river. Or whatever. I have no frame of reference.

    Echo, I don't even know if that is possible, truly. It seems improbable, being so very human as I am, that that state is even achievable. But it is something to aim at.

    Writing it down is so very helpful as well as therapeutic for me. I can get so confused by difficult child. I can't start skittering around in my head, mentally, like a little caged mouse, when he starts on me. I feel my thoughts darting in all different directions and suddenly I hear myself say something stupid that I never intended to say or do, like, yes, I'll do ___________.

    Writing it down helps create a new neural pathway for me.

    So thanks to you friends, for your responses. Today is a new day and I am working---already being much more productive than yesterday, which was a wash.

    SO and I are taking the new seadoos out on the lake tomorrow to see how they run. It is supposed to be beautiful here, no rain. Fingers crossed. Life goes on.

    Keep moving forward.
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  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    COM, I am glad you posted about this. I have been thinking a lot about you and the upcoming date and all of the things that must be going through your head.

    Yes, exactly. This is what I would like to get to also. That kind of companionship without anything attached would be so nice, even if it is just for a few minutes at a time.
  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    (((hugs))) I know how hard it was for me when mine threatened suicide and stealing to get money when I FINALLY said no and meant it.

    I was told to prepare that he may actually do it. I know he had to be really struggling, but there are places for them to get help. The problems is they want to do what THEY want, and that usually involves money and us solving the problems for them.

    My son went no contact for a little over a year and I used the time to help me for a change. I think he dropped off the face of the earth (no contact with family or any of his friends that I knew) to teach me a lesson. It did teach me that me son is a very selfish person that would take every cent I have and leave me penniless without a single thought about anyone but him.

    He contacts me every now and then by email, things are so much more peaceful for me now. It's still a sad parent should have to go through what we do.
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  9. Terryforvols

    Terryforvols Member

    Posted prev on wrong thread, but ordered Hungry for me AND a good friend!

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  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I don't know whether to think our difficult child kids do manipulative, painful things on purpose. I have posted before about my daughter and the FB pictures. There have been other times too, with both difficult children. And each time, I have been blasted into the FOG so deeply that I am vulnerable in ways I was not, prior to the manipulation.

    I just don't know whether they do those things to us on purpose...but as Recovering pointed out to me, that might be just what is happening.

    I understand your wanting to spend time with your son spirit to spirit, COM. That is what you are talking about when you post about appearing empty handed, I think. You would need to be very strong, to do that. are right. When I think of all the helping, it has all come from that FOG place. And there is nothing honest or honorable or even, real, about that FOG place.

    I keep thinking about that imagery.

    Empty hands means this is a real interaction. No one is being bought or sold.

    That is good imagery, COM.

    Thank you. Another really fine tool for me. That simple imagery of empty hands.

    I love that.

  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    What I meant here had to do with the course of this path over time, COM. There are some interactions that shine for me, when I look back, when I think about my kids and what has happened.

    Some times, some things have been real, and right.

    But for the most part, those memories now are just that. Things I can pick out that were real and good.

    And those things do bring me joy.

    It's a little like that old country western song about willingly choosing the pain again for the sake of the dance.

    For the most part, for me and probably for other parents too, who have been at this for so long...there are no family dinners, no holidays together, no cards on Father's Day for so many years that you forget to feel badly about that, except in passing.

    Or you put that sadness away, understanding that you cannot change what is. It is a little feeling of weakness, a darkness in an otherwise acceptable day and so, you just put it away. And that feeling, that pain that you just put away because there was nothing else to be done with it...that is what I have. I have that, and that husband and I sort of pat one another on the back and tell ourselves it doesn't really matter, that this little tiny pain is nothing, compared to what we've been through.

    But Father's Day is coming.

    Father's Day is coming, again, and I am (and husband is too) a little maudlin about that.

    Time goes flying away. I remember I love my kids. I remember I feel that love for them when I see them...but for the most part, when I have seen them, I have been FOG bound.

    That is what I meant. Over time, those connections that were never refreshed, those good things that never happened find us loving something we never had and are never going to get now, because there is just empty space where the dinners and holidays (and Father's Day cards) should have been.

    So, I don't know how to say what I'm trying to say, here. It is like I know that I love my children. but at the same time, I know that I define my life these days through that intention I hold to love them.

    But I don't really know them, anymore. I don't really know what happened, to them and to us.

    But after all is said and done...I am glad, after all, that I did not miss the dance.

    It's a very strange thing, to understand that all that love and pain and laughter should have come to this.

    So, I will just put that little bit of pain away, too.

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  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Cedar, that song is by Garth Brooks and it is called The Dance. I often think of Cory when I hear it. I could have missed the pain, but I would have to miss the dance. Honestly I would never want to miss the pain because of all the good dances.
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  13. I love the way you put that Janet. Even with all the pain, the fear, the tears, and the frustration, I wouldn't want to give up any of the smiles, the laughter, the joy of raising that beautiful kind loving boy. I hope someday he will reappear as a beautiful kind loving man. I too am glad I didn't miss the dance.

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  14. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Hi COM,
    I have not posted in a couple of months but came to the boards tonight and read your post. Please know I am sending good thoughts and prayers your way.