Update on me and difficult child

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

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    As many of you know, difficult child got out of jail June 26 and has been back on the street since that time, homeless. Today, it is about to the 40 to 45-day mark for him. Significance of that is that usually he gets arrested within 45 days of being out of jail and back on the street.

    This time, things are unfolding a bit differently. It seems. He has seemed different, more serious, more mature, more accepting of his own role in all of this. He has been saying many of the right things---get a job, get a place to live, rebuild my life, get a car, eventually go back to school. He has also been saying that his life today isn't so bad and some days it is actually fun. He is now 25 years old.

    There has been mixed talk, like I just wrote about above, but little to no action that I can see.

    I suggested he get his car towed to a repair shop and see what the bill would be to get it running again. My idea, not his. He did it, and I don't know the outcome except that the repairs will be $370 and he has $150 (from birthday presents).

    Last night I learned that he now has a girlfriend. It was posted on FB. She is 19 years old, and it appears that she has a job but is also homeless. Not sure about that. She has a lot of posts on her FB wall that indicate her, shall we say, immaturity.

    difficult child called easy child while he and his fiancee were here for dinner last night. He wanted easy child to give he and girlfriend a ride since it was pouring down rain here to someone's house where they would spend the night. difficult child said he is getting a job at McDonald's today and that girlfriend is getting paid Friday and they are wanting to buy a truck with his $150 and her paycheck.

    So...on to me.

    Obviously, all of this is why I haven't heard from him since last Friday morning. I now know he is alive---he has no phone, it got stolen. I woke up in the middle of the night with the Parade of the Terribles---doing what we call in Al-Anon "awfulizing". Obsessive thinking making everything really awful and playing every movie to its final conclusion with the well, this will happen, what if that happens, etc. etc. etc.

    I even told myself, well, I will have to cancel my 7:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow morning. I need to isolate and hunker down. That kind of thinking went on for about five minutes, and then I told myself. Stop it.
    Read for a few minutes and go back to sleep and figure it out in the morning. This line of thinking is stupid, obsessive and is getting you nowhere.

    I went back to sleep and slept until the alarm went off at 6. I got up, did my thing and went to the meeting. It was great. There was a motivational speaker who talked about how to turn the challenges of live into advantages. Make lemonade from your lemons.

    My thinking this morning: I cannot know the course my difficult child's life is going to take. There are many choices and decisions he must make with his life, and then he must live with the consequences of those decisions and choices. Maybe something good will happen. Maybe he won't get this new girlfriend pregnant and take on that whole boatload, or maybe he will? Maybe he will get that job at McDonald's, and maybe he won't. Maybe he won't get arrested for providing alcohol to an underage person (her) and go back to jail. Maybe he will, and that is the best place for him.

    I have no control over what a 25-year-old man is going to do. Nor should I have any control over that.

    I am going to continue my work on myself. I am going to continue to set boundaries, create time, space and distance from my son so I can live my own life, detach from my son with love, and work to continue to accept him, right now today, for the person he is. Whether he's homeless or not. Whether he's using drugs or not. Whether he has a job or not. Whether he is living with a scruffy girlfriend or not.

    Whatever reality is. If I don't like what I am seeing, and I don't agree with it, then I can set further physical boundaries that keep me as far away from it as I need to be. Right now, I haven't heard from him in five days and I am good with that.

    I will continue to use my tools and my toolbox, to keep the Parade of the Terribles at bay and to keep my head on straight.

    I cannot know the journey that he is on for his life. Maybe, with God's help, it will lead somewhere good.

    Keep moving forward, friends, let's keep moving forward. Truly, really, what else is there to do?
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  2. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Parade of Terribles. I like this. I didn't know anyone else did that. I've gone so far as to imagine being at the funeral of my son, my husband, etc... I've always been kind of worried there was something wrong with me that I can imagine these terrible things that aren't even happening clear thru to their horrible conclusion. Thank you. You didn't know you were doing it, but you made me feel better to know other people do it too! (Counterproductive though it is.)

    You sound very settled and at peace with the decisions you are making. Stay the course. :)
  3. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    And, as you say, he's 25 so you shouldn't have any control over that anyway.

    I had a bit of an update myself today, via texts:

    (This was hot on the heels of another text asking for socks and saying he was ill and trying to weatherproof his treehouse)

    him: "Hey, need a break from the commune, going to travel around a bit, then maybe we could meet up or I could come stay for a few days, don't worry, love x"

    me: "Hey, I don't worry any more. We'll be away on holiday soon and won't be back until Sept 1st. Call you when I'm back and maybe we can meet up then. love x"

    Isn't it great that I can text "I don't worry any more" with honesty?

    We're off to the west coast of Ireland soon, one of the most magical places on Earth in my opinion, for my annual fix of wild beaches, friendly pubs, live music and general chilling out. No way am I going to spend any of that time worrying about my son. I'm taking my tools and toolbox with me, packing it right alongside my books and knitting.

    Maybe he can come and stay for a few days when we get back, but at a date that suits me, not just when he's 'in need of a break' and it suits him.

    Sorry to hi-jack your thread :(
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  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Yes, LucyJ, it is WONDERFUL.

    Bet you feel very free and happy.
  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    thank you for this update. I recognize the themes...the girlfriend, the pregnancy fears, the "why am I two steps ahead of him in seeing the bad path this is going on"

    The midnight wakenings. The conviction that tomorrow is a bust for lack of sleep tonight.

    You are totally right that this takes the toolbox..to keep the parade of terribles at bay.

    I must say Robin Williams suicide joined the parade for me...along the lines of "if difficult child commits suicide and I have been cold towards him....." and thus the parade begins.

    Try to let it parade on by, as parades do. Stand where you are, on the sidelines of his life, and let it go by.

    Right. You added another sentence after this. In my mind this is where the thought/feeling/emotion ends....I cannot know the journey that he is on.

    My ex is moving in with a woman with 3 young kids...he (ex) bought the youngsters superman pajamas...just as he used to do with our young boys. My middle easy child was thrown off balance by that...he said "they are having so much life I know nothing about."

    It reminded me of a teaching in one of my meditation class...it was for walking meditation...there was a whole lead up of trying to use ears only, to hear all the sounds...touch only, to feel the air, the pressure of the earth on your feet, the swing of your legs...sight only, for light only...and then to put it all together, to move throught the wheeling, spinning, moving universe and see and feel it all, and to know, truly know, that you are the only person who can see all that you are seeing at this one moment in time. I love that.

    And its corollary...you cannot see what others are seeing, nor know what they know.

    We cannot know what journey they are on.

    I saw difficult child today too..it is raining here, and I went out from work at lunch (to get a massage!!!! hahaha because I ran 20 miles yestarday and can hardly sit or stand....) and I saw him across the street. I tipped my umbrella down so he wouldn't see my face. He saw me anyway, and hurried over to tell me momI'monsuboxonei'monmywaytoclinicmyfoodstampshaventcomethroughbutwhentheydoi'llusethemtogetmymedsi'vebeentakingsomeleftoverlititumivebeencleanfor9dayswhatisgoingonathomehowareyoumom.
    Ijust wanted to get away.

    Later he texted me to say "even though we aren't on good terms I was glad to see you. I love you."and I wrote "last time I reached out to you you left my house and took whatever you wanted, then tried to enlist your 16 year old brother in selling drugs. I saw you today...I moved my umbrella because I didn't want to talk to you."

    And then I asked SO if I should pay for his medications.

    So that is the confusing place in which I live today.

    Blessings on all our heads today, us, our partners. our pcs and difficult children.

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  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I'm not completely free and happy MWM, that's not really truly possible when you have a son in turmoil is it? But it's manageable, under control, not at the top of my life's mountain of stuff, buried in a cave near the bottom. I can breathe far easier and I sleep better and smile more.

    because it's their journey, not ours. We bought the ticket for them though didn't we? An open ticket to whatever destination they choose. We bought the ticket but have no control over where they go with it. That's tough sometimes.

    We just spoke on the phone. He's had a bust up with some of the others at the squat ( as I suspected) and so has chosen to 'take off'. H says this sounds pretty childish. I'm just letting the parade go by and standing on the sidelines. ( thanks for that image Echo, I love it)
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  7. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Live your best life, he's a grown man. Good for you, for you and for all of us here refusing to be doormats and taken advantage of for one more second. Enjoy the day.
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I know tons of people who do this. We just don't TALK about it. We hold way too much in, trying to wear a mask that looks good to the world, and inside we are all feeling that we're the ONLY ONES. We are not the only ones. We are merely human.

    No, I am not. As I wrote on another thread today, my feelings may be one thing, Lil, and then my thinking and my actions may be another thing. And that has only come through years of hard work. I can today separate my feelings from my thinking and my actions, most of the time. Not all the time. But I have learned, and I do mean have learned and today believe this with all of my heart, is that my feelings are not facts.

    That was a HUGE learning for me in Al-Anon and when I first heard it it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard. I could not even grasp it on the lowest level. It has taken time and work and faith and who knows what else to get to this point, and today it still takes continued work.

    I love this! Your terms, Lucy. Not his. That is a great example of living your own life. Of turning, and putting yourself first, and still loving difficult child and creating a space for him in your life. On your terms.

    Yes, I like this image as well.

    I love this too. Thank you for sharing this Echo. The image of we having our own singular experiences---apart from the experiences of even our own children---that no one else can have and know about....and

    ...they have their own experiences and their own lives and their own journeys and we are separate people. We are not joined by the umbilical cord anymore. And this is how it is supposed to be.

    Bless you! I ran just five miles last week and my thighs were still hurting on Sunday! You are younger than me, Echo! Viva ibuprophen!

    And this is exactly where we still live as we deal with our precious sons who we love so much and who continue to make the very puzzling choices that they make with their lives.

    I live right there with you, Echo.

    No, I am not either, Lucy. BUT, today I can compartmentalize it. I can say, okay, remember there is nothing you can do, get out your toolbox, use your tools, and then get on with your day. Most of the time I can do it.

    Yep, up all night. Absolutely correct. Thank you.
  9. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member


    The thought crossed my mind in the middle of the night that he could come and stay here while we're away.
    I know what H would say. I've had this thought before. It's not going to happen.
    So this big house sits here empty and I pay someone to come and look after my cats every day while my son is wandering around somewhere. Sometimes I get so cheesed off with how ridiculous things are.
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I too have done this. To be honest, I have basically difficult child's funerals mapped out in my head. Have been for years. I do it a little with my other loved ones, but with difficult child it has always been the worst. For some reason I have had a strong feeling even before the day he was born, that I will bury him one day. I do not believe in predisposition or anything like that, so I have always considered that feeling to tell mostly something about me and nothing about my son or his future. But of course dangerous situations he keeps putting himself into haven't helped at all. Standing on the river bank when they are drag searching the river because your kid is missing and his jacket was found from the river and someone heard the splash doesn't do any favours for any parent's imagination. Neither do even half-a**ed suicide attempts decade later.

    But these thoughts are from those dark places inside us, that we don't tend to reveal to other people. And I'm not sure if we really even should. Not too much at least. Neither do I believe we should suppress those dark thoughts too much either. Yes, often you have to prioritize getting back to sleep, but I believe there has to be time and place also for those black thoughts from those secretive, dark places inside us. If we just suppress them or dismiss them as nonsense, I believe we are denying and fooling ourselves and not accepting ourselves wholly.
  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I agree that we all have dark places inside us Suzir. Music often triggers my blackest thoughts. I sometimes catch myself imagining that a particular record that I am listening to might be played at my son's funeral. Disturbing. I don't deny or fool myself, I know I have some dark places inside me. We're all human. It's part of us. Yin and yang, light and shade, they complement each other, there has to be dark for there to be light.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Oh, Lucy, I KNOW it's not perfect. It never is, is it? I just meant I'm glad you are doing well, considering. You seem to be so strong. I think a lot of us look at you and become inspired :)
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It's same with me. And at times I would really want to suppress and deny those thoughts. And I did especially when difficult child was very young. It just seemed so very wrong then. That didn't do me any favours though. If I suppressed the thoughts when wake (even if it was 3 a.m. ) they came back with vengeance while at sleep. So as disturbing as they feel, I try to give them room in my head. Letting them come seems to help me sort out those worst fears of mine and I guess that I have long time ago ended up more or less to conclusion that even if those worst fears would become true, I will live, one way or another. Maybe that is a reason for those thoughts to begin with? I don't know. I do know they are not fun.