Update on Peter Pan

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by AHF, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. AHF

    AHF Member

    I'll share what happened since my last past, since it's a classic case and may be instructive to others. Peter Pan went to his therapy appointment yesterday and called me to "pick him up." I said I would meet with him in a neutral place but I would not bring him home. We met for an hour, during which he said almost nothing except that he needed my help, and when I said I was willing to help but not to house him under the circumstances, he bared his teeth at me, like a threatening dog. So I got up and left the coffee shop where we'd met. Forty minutes later, as I pulled into my office, he called again. This time his voice and attitude were completely different. He was on his way to look at a house share, walking distance from the town center. When he got there and met the housemates, he was really excited about living there. Called me to come over, which I did. It's not a house I'd want to live in--run-down, incredibly messy, pit bulls in the back yard--but I'm not going to live there; he is. The rent was the exact amount I'd agreed to pay for a month of getting him back on his feet. We went to the bank; went home to get Peter Pan's clothes and a small microwave; stopped by the grocery store to get a few starter items; and by 5 p.m. he was in his new place. This is not the end, of course--he still needs to get a job, find a car, start supporting himself--but it shows that when I stand up and walk away, he does manage to take the initiative that he couldn't/wouldn't take before. Hope y'all are doing the same! Thanks for the support!
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is great news. And, you hit the nail on the head here:
    Great job, warrior mom :)
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It sure sounds like you are setting boundaries and communicating to him exactly what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. Good for you for leaving after he "bared his teeth." These steps are so important to us as we maneuver through the mine fields our kids set up for us. Hugs to you and kudos for a good job.

    In my own strange world, I have permitted my daughter to stay at our place for the last week. I told her we would take this one week at a time. We had a major communication/breakdown/breakthrough which seemed to blow the lid off of our codependency and open the door for a new way of being with each other. I have to say, and believe me, I am the most surprised, that she is REALLY trying to be different. So am I. As a result, things are changing, but man, it is tough. We've been in these roles for 20 years and changing them is no easy task, but I do really see quite a bit of improvement. I checked in with my therapist about the arrangements I made with my daughter, just to make sure there weren't any loopholes I missed and if this were indeed good boundary setting or simply another "trance" of codependency that I slipped into. She and the group I'm in approved. So, I made it through that hurdle. Each day is different. Her cats are still around, 3 in her car, one in the bathroom, not ideal, but I have washed my hands of it, I am powerless over their fate too. However, the one cat is impacting my fiancee who has asthma and so I told my daughter the cat needs to be out today. I gave her options before which she chose to ignore and after this impact on him, all I care about is that the cats are gone. She had the old, usual, initial reactive response, anger, blame, etc. But I didn't have my usual response. I simply said, 'you have very few options and if you choose to live in your car again with the cats, the police, who now know you, will pick you up for vagrancy and arrest you again. If your choice is to live in your car with your cats, rather then find a way to get them into a shelter or whatever, (I wasn't even interested in thinking about solutions, not my problem!) and risk going back to jail, then so be it.' I let it all go. I didn't feel any of the usual churning, worry, fear, stomach tightening, I felt a little anxious, but determined. It is her choice to do that. Of course, I think it's absurd, but it doesn't matter, it's her life. 5 minutes later, she came back in and apologized and said she would find a solution by the end of the day. She said she felt horrible about her cats causing asthma issues for my fiancee. Ok. As long as the cat is out of the house and the other cats stop impacting my fiancee, I am letting it all go. I told her when I said she could stay for one week, that her drama and intensity have a huge impact on my serenity and she asked me to tell her when that happens. So, I've been doing that, and if I didn't see this with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it, she stops! I told her, when she feels an 'intense attack' coming on to go in the room she is staying in and be by herself and leave the rest of us out of it. She does that. She is respecting all of my boundaries, one by one, as I figure out what they are and set them. It's difficult for me at times because I have my fiancee and my granddaughter to consider as well. I am communicating to everyone, all the time, keeping it all as straight as I can. I don't know if this will give my daughter the opportunity to take a little break from her intense life, and offer her a possibility of a chance of starting on new footing, I just don't know. That is my hope, but it is up to her. I see improvements, I see healing in our relationship and I am healing the part of me that has been so codependent with her, I am staying in the frustrations of all of it and finding solutions rather then do the either/or thing I so perfected, giving in to her or completely distancing myself from her. I am staying right in the middle, the most challenging place for me to be, the one I really have no experience with, but clearly, the part I need to learn about and get good at. I believe right now this is an opportunity for us to grow together, and each day I have to evaluate where I am with it to see if it works for me and the rest of the family. So far, with some major and minor adjustments, it is. But who knows about tomorrow. This is hard work. I am tired. And yet, in some ways, I think this may be as good as it gets when you have these difficult kids. Just learning to negotiate through all the drama, set boundaries, be clear in my communication, stay committed to my word, don't back down, protect the rest of the family, know that what I want is valuable and deserves attention and consideration, stay the course, no matter how hard it gets. And, of course, if it gets to a point where my daughter crosses a line, then she has to leave. But, now, after today, I know I can do that, because I just did, I was willing to let her go live in her car, get arrested, go back to jail, because it was clearly her choice and I have no power over that. This is an important lesson for me. As long as she is under my roof, she lives by my rules, end of story. It's very empowering and I feel good about it today. She told me she wanted me to stop enabling her, she told me she sees the damage its done to me and she seems genuinely sorry. We'll see how it goes. One day at a time. Thank you for listening/reading. It is so incredibly valuable to write this all down.