Update on my difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She got out of jail Saturday night, a few days early. We received the phone call asking us to pick her up at 7:30 Sat. night. My past reaction to that news would be dread, worry, apprehension and probably some resentment. What happened was, I had no reaction, I was present, without those feelings. I was okay.

    We picked her up and while she was chatty, I was silent. I was practicing "refraining." She asked questions and I said, why don't we just wait and see what happens.

    She slept on the couch in our living room. I asked her where she was planning on staying now. I did not say she could continue to stay with us, although, I had talked to my SO and granddaughter previously and we all agreed that none of us could just leave her on a corner without anything. Talking to them that way was also different, I didn't make a decision and then tell them, I asked them what they thought we should do, we all decided together.

    She left on Easter Sunday while we were all out. She didn't return until Monday evening to pick up some things and then leave again. My granddaughter quietly told her, "you should have called Grammy and let her know that you didn't plan on being here on Sunday night, that was the right thing to do." My daughter said, "you're right" and apologized to me. She left. I was impressed with my granddaughter's quiet yet effective way of communicating. I was going to speak to my daughter about it myself the next time I saw her because when she arrived, I was half asleep on the couch. Again, I didn't have to do anything, there was my granddaughter taking the reins.

    Tuesday, I stayed home from work and my granddaughter was home with a headache. My daughter arrived in the morning and sat in her car in the garage making phone calls. I went out to see how she was doing and she was crying. I listened to her, she was overwhelmed with no where to live, no money, the ex roommate angry at her and telling her she has until Wed. to get her cats out or they go to a shelter, she couldn't find her probation number to call in which was imperative.............a lot of stuff to deal with.......... I listened, said nothing, left her to her calls. Refraining.

    I came in the house and I was fine. No need to fix anything, no sense there was anything for me to do. She was handling her life, I was in my own. She stayed in the garage for 4 hours. When she emerged, she was fine. She had handled a number of things on her own. We asked her to stay for dinner, she did and then left. She told us some of her plans for employment. I said, if you show some forward movement, we are not opposed to helping you, however, if you don't, we will not. She promised she was on the case and this time was different. I had no response verbally or emotionally.

    My granddaughter and her mother had a couple of interactions. My granddaughter went out to the garage and talked to her mother, telling her mother she would help her, she would drive her to some places she wanted to go. They had a new kind of connection. I felt that perhaps my exiting from the former role I had gave my granddaughter room to show up in a different way. My daughter too. It seemed we were all showing up in different ways.

    My daughter told me she wanted to stay in the garage so "my drama didn't have an impact on you Mom." We've both learned a lot about boundaries.

    SO and my granddaughter and I had a long talk about responsibility. In addition to staying clear about where mine lie with my daughter, we all talked about how now that my granddaughter is 18, the shift of control and responsibility for her life begins to go on to her plate for certain things and off of mine. It was a great talk. We also talked about my daughter and they both commented on the difference in my response. We actually had a nice day together.

    Since Saturday evening, I have had no emotional response to any of this. I thought it might show up and surprise me, but after yesterday, all the triggers for me to jump in to action were there, my daughter's overwhelm, her crying, her enormous needs, the sheer depth of her upset............and I remained calm and in my center. No one is more amazed then I am.

    When I got into bed last night and was reading The places that scare you by Pema Chodron, I came across this paragraph which I think sums up how I am feeling about my daughter:

    "If we relax our mind and stop struggling, emotions can move through us without becoming solid and proliferating. Fundamentally, experiencing openness is having trust in the living quality of basic energy. We develop the confidence to allow it to arise, to linger and then to pass on. The energy is dynamic, ungraspable, always in a state of flux. So our training is, first of all, noticing how we block the energy, or freeze it, how we tense up our bodies and minds. Then we train in softening, relaxing, and opening to the energy without interpretations or judgements."

    This is the lifestyle she has chosen to live. This is the lifestyle she is designing for herself. If I don't sit in judgement of her, if I don't try to fix her or her life, if I don't get myself in knots about her life, if I can just be present with her and accept her for who she is, I am in touch with my love for her and I can let go and trust that we are all in our right place in the scheme of life.

    I feel as if I moved through a dark forrest and came out in to the sunlight after a long scary journey. This process of detachment/acceptance has changed my life in profound and meaningful ways I could not have imagined when I began. For me this has had to do with trust in myself and trust in life. Letting go of control opens the door for the fresh winds of change to blow through unencumbered, bringing a sense of excitement and newness.................and a deep feeling of peace.
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  2. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I think that was beautiful, RE.
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Wow, RE. Your post is amazing. I will write more later but I wanted you to know I read it and I will read it again before responding.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    How validating that must have been for her, Recovering. Not even that she made the calls, but that you were there and, instead of supplying information and energy and focus, that you trusted her to care for herself and for her life.

    I am sure this is the right way for us to help our troubled adult children to stand up, to become vital adults celebrating their wins and their losses from the centers of their lives, instead of looking to us or to someone else for validation or courage.

    I love it that this happened.

    "I had no response verbally or emotionally."

    That's key.

    COM's Richard Rohr did a meditation this morning. (I follow him now, too, COM! Love it. Thank you.) Anyway, it got me thinking that each life has so many different ways it could manifest, and that once we can see it that way, we can change simply by rising or by diving deeper.

    There is no need to change our essential selves, to be better than we are.

    I don't know whether I am explaining it clearly enough. It seems so simple in my mind, but is a difficult concept for me to communicate clearly.

    Your stepping aside opened a new possibility for each of the members of your family, Recovering.

    There are so many possible realities for each of us, so many selves to breathe life into.

    But we need room to do that.

    I love this.

    I think you handled this well. I am going to remember that analogy.



    I read something the other day.

    Envision a daffodil.

    Now, take away the words.

    The thing is entirely different. Without the words to label and chain down what it is you are looking at, you will see it for itself.

    I have been thinking that way about my children, and even about myself, about my self concept, in that way.

    I encourage every one to try that technique. It's mind boggling, life changing, to realize how much thinking we don't do, to understand how much of our everyday reality is not real, at all. Takes about one minute.


    I would add that it has to do with how we perceive what we see, how we label and chain a thing down so it becomes what we told ourselves we saw.

    I am surprised how true that is.


    Recovering, thank you for your post. Through it, we are able to see detachment skills as the results unfold. We have been through the desperate ups and downs of enabling with you (as you have stood with us, too). I love it that your daughter is recovering herself, that step by step, she is beginning the journey free to create whatever she will of it. I love it that your granddaughter is exploring other options for defining what it is that matters.

    That is huge, Recovering.

    I love the part about your stepping back enabling your family to step up, to step into different roles.

    I love this post.

  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Standing ovation for RE!!!! Amazing job!! Congrats!

    sent from mobile phone
  6. Thanks for the update.
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    How wonderful, Recovering. How beautiful to watch your daughter and your grand daughter unfold before you, as they are, who they are. What a gift you gave yourself, after so much suffering and so much work. I rejoice with you today.

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  8. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    So glad for you, Recovering. You worked so hard to get to this place that you're in.
    You are an inspiration to us. Such a good example on how to love our difficult child'S without trying to fix them or enable them.
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  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    You did amazingly well. Congrats.

    Over the years as I grew up I came to really admire the way my father dealt with me as a young adult. For probably 2 or 3 years my dad didnt have a whole lot to do with me. It didnt seem new to me because that was our basic relationship our whole lives. Also my first husband left a really bad taste in everyone's mouth. It wasnt until I graduated from college that he started to let his guard down with me. I can imagine he spent a lot of time "sitting on his lips" as his only child did what looked like her level best to ruin her life. In the beginning, even after the boys were grown he would only give me a few outfits for them twice a year. Next came offering me items he intended to take to the Goodwill Store. He really let me put my feet to the ground and learn what I needed to learn without being able to lean on him for anything. Now as he got a whole lot more comfortable with me and Tony he did help us out a few times and was glad to do it. He had a funny way with things. We would ask him to loan us a small amount of money for some disaster that we just didnt have the money for...appliances break, cars die...things like that. He would insist we pay him back even in small chunks but then in about a month after we paid him off we would get a check from him in the amount we borrowed. LOL. He just wanted to make sure we would pay him.
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    What an action to be able to take. You went, you bore witness, you kept quiet, and you left. That is amazing.

    RE, you are changing your family tree. You are affecting patterns set in place, perhaps for generations. You, because of your hard work on yourself, are showing love at its best.

    I remember one time someone in Al-anon said this: "And then I finally stopped struggling against the disease." Struggling against. I have struggled against the disease for so long---about 10 years knowingly. First with my ex-husband, and now with my son. And the disease always wins. It is a 40-foot-tall monster that mows down and sucks up everything in its path. There is no way to win against this disease. We must move out of the way. It is the only way to survive. And then thrive, as you are doing, RE.

    Yes, this is acceptance. And even the next step---to bear witness and to watch her live her life. It is one thing to accept it at a distance---I am not even there yet. It is another to have her in your house and be at peace. What progress you have made, RE.

    I think this is huge. Trust in myself. Learning to mind my own business. Learning how to find peace, joy, serenity on my own. Staying out of the way. Loving people just as they are, who they are. This is a lifelong work, I believe and I am grateful that I am on this journey because it is worth it.

    Trust in the patterns of life. This is real life. This is real people. It's chaotic, messy, uncontrollable, up and down, moving all the time. Changing all the time. We are so used to the change being bad. The change can also be good.

    We don't know what will happen with your daughter this time, RE. It doesn't matter. What does matter is today. Right now. This is all we have. You are staying present in this moment.

    You are doing great! You are an inspiration. Keep telling us. Keep talking to us, RE. We can learn from this. And you.
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Amazing. Very touching and wise.
  12. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Wonderful to read this. You have helped me so much and certainly seemed to be doing well, but I was worried about when your daughter was released--how would it really "go down"? Your description of what transpired sounds as hopeful as could be expected. I am extremely happy for you and the peaceful place you are in.

    You give me a goal that looks more reachable after reading your posts over the last few months.