Update from the slow, slow lane........

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's been awhile. Seems like life is one big adjustment these days. I think I swept most of the cobwebs of the past out.......the decks appear to be cleared!

    My daughter landed in a relatively safe place at the beginning of this year. She just moved her stuff from her last storage unit to a shed on the property she lives on. That felt like a positive improvement, so I helped her to make that move, something I hadn't done in a long time. When I examined my motives and feelings (something I do regularly since enabling can pop up quickly) I realized I am no longer angry or resentful, I have good boundaries and I don't have to have a blanket boundary any longer which says, "no help whatsoever." She and I have come a long way and now I can trust myself to take each individual incident and make a healthy choice. It took a long time to get there. It was less about her and mostly about me.....my ability to discern when to help and when not to, a fluid walk now. It seems for awhile we may have to have a black and white way of looking at it until we can find a more balanced position as we heal and change and our kids grow and learn and change. If no change occurs, I imagine the black and white thinking needs to stay in place. But for me, things are lightening up for my daughter and I.

    When the storage unit issue arose, she and I texted about it. I told her what it has been like to be her mother, the struggles and the suffering I've done as a result of some of the choices she has made. I've done that before, but this time, it felt as if I showed up in a more real and authentic and healthy place. I am not the all knowing, all loving mother I thought I was, I am simply a flawed human being doing the best I can. Our interchange felt so empowering to me, I felt as if she and I stood on equal ground and I was accepting her for who she is............and at the same time, accepting myself with all my own issues.......the self acceptance seems to be a step that needs to happen before one can accept another, so that had been my 'work.' Right down the line, as I changed, she changed.

    I felt "seen and heard" by her in a very different way. She said she felt that too.

    My daughter responded to my realness in a lovely way, telling me how important it was for her to hear it and how sorry she was that I had struggled so much because of her choices. It was likely the most tender exchange we've ever had. As she and I traverse this new bridge we are standing on, we are tentatively learning a new way to BE with each other......without the enabling on my part everything has changed for us......we have to invent a new way of relating and we're doing it! The love between us is different, it's deeper, better, healthier and easier.

    There will be issues, "stuff" to deal with, that's just life.......but now I know how to show up, let go, be in the present moment and accept what is......and sometimes I forget and fall down, and that's okay too.

    Acceptance has been my biggest lesson. Learning to take my expectations, judgments and my own beliefs about what is the "right" way, and put them aside so that I can really see my daughter without all of that in the way has made an enormous difference.

    Learning that lesson has made the connection with my granddaughter so much easier. As she has hit some walls in her new adult phase of life, I have been able to effectively acknowledge her position, be available to her in a loving way and NOT step in when it is not helpful to do so. I've learned how to do that now without a lot of thought, it's becoming a natural way of responding. With her I am not recreating a relationship, so it's easier. I'm so grateful for that too, since she's at what feels like a crucial point in her development, 19 years old and taking her first tentative steps to adulthood, with all my love and blessings, but really, without enabling her, without crippling her efforts by saving her. She has fallen a number of times.......and although I've GASPED inside, I've told her how capable she is and how we are always here, and that it's now her time to make her choices and learn from them. Sigh. Not always easy, but I know in my heart it's the healthy and loving way to respond to her now.She's growing her adult wings as she sometimes seems to be falling through space! But, she IS growing those wings.

    When I first came on this site, broken and suffering, I had a big intention to find peace, a peace which had completely eluded me as I struggled with my daughter's issues. I thought putting peace as my number one goal would cover a lot of ground. As I look back on these last 3-4 years, that peace has grown to the degree that I began learning about acceptance. As I let go and learned how to accept what is, without arguing with reality, that peace grew and grew and grew. It was not easy to let go, however, it became the only way to get to where I wanted to be.

    "The only way out, is through." We can't take a shortcut in my opinion, we have to face our own tight hold on control, our own fears, our own powerlessness, our expectations, our judgments, our beliefs about right and wrong, our discomfort with uncertainty and chaos and our love or lack of love for ourselves. At least, that's the way it appears to me at this point in the journey. When I began to realize this was about me, I then had the power to make changes. Waiting for my daughter, or anyone else to change to fit in to my way of seeing things, created enormous suffering. The changes I made on myself, opened the door and perhaps forced changes in everyone and everything around me. In any connection, if one person changes their responses, the entire script has to change.

    There is a new sense of excitement and enthusiasm emerging in my life now , a lot more room for new possibilities and adventures. It's been a long, tough road, however, one I feel grateful to have traveled.........difficult as it was..... it's all been an enormous gift on every level.

    To those still struggling, hang in there, stay the course, if I can walk through this maze of pain and get to the other side.........so can you.....we all can.....put one foot in front of the other and make one small shift and then another and all of those little changes will lead you out of the dark FOG and on to a very different experience of life. One step at a time.

    Thanks to all my buddies here for helping me find my way........
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    RE, I am so happy that you are now able to start redefining your relationship with your daughter.

    This is so true!! Peeling every layer back and really looking at ourselves.

    A true beacon of hope for all of us.

    Thanks RE for sharing this and offering so much hope.