Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, this may be odd, but this is an update on ME! My daughter, AKA difficult child, is the same. Not much has changed for her. However, my life has changed dramatically.

    As many of you know, I began a Codependency Program on November 1st, 2011. Last night I had my final appointment with my therapist through that program. We essentially tied up the last 22 months of my 'recovery' completing this particular leg of the journey. She told me that the goal of the program is to be able to have a fulfilling life in spite of what the "other" (difficult child, husband, wife, mother, father, ANYONE) is doing or not doing, once someone reaches that criteria, they are considered to be recovered.................when I heard that at the beginning of this process, I would never have believed I could have gotten to this point............as many of you have heard me say, repeatedly, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

    I always advise others on this crazy path to seek professional help, to look for groups, to find support in whatever form, because this is just so hard to do. But, it is not impossible. To literally tear oneself away from the drama/trauma/choices of a difficult child, regardless of whether it is due to mental illness, substance abuse or a conduct disorder, or any of the above, is literally devastating and filled with a lot of sorrow, anger, resentment and pain. Yikes. What a journey.

    I am okay. I am healthy. I feel peace of mind, which was my ultimate goal. I have cut some invisible cord with my grown up daughter which tied me to her in damaging and negative ways. She may or may not rise to the surface and prevail, I don't know, but it is no longer anything I can do anything about. I am clear just how powerless I truly am and that knowledge has liberated me and changed my life. I've accepted what I cannot change.

    In learning how to set boundaries around negative behavior in my daughter, I discovered how to do that with everyone and it changed a few of my relationships irreparably. Once a line is drawn to only permit healthy, kind and caring access to your inner circle, the line is permanent and impenetrable...............it's left me with less people in my life, I had to make difficult choices, but I gained more authenticity, self respect and self love. It's been challenging at times, but I had a strong commitment to change what I could inside myself in relationship to my daughter............I didn't know how much that would change the rest of my life as well.

    There is so much in life we have no control over and recognizing what that is, is not only liberating it is exhilarating, it frees me up to focus on myself and stop focusing on the (MANY) things I have no control over. Whew!

    Today my granddaughter began her Senior year in High School, a very exciting time in the life of a young person. I am going along for the ride and watching her navigate through this is a joy. MY SO and I are planning our retirement years once our little bird leaves the nest............there's a new adventure 'out there' and I'm now available for it. Last night felt important, the end of a long and painful chapter in my life............ and today feels like page one of the next book, not a new chapter, a whole new book! It's time. :D
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow I envy you. I think you were very lucky to have that type of ending with the therapist. I had mine torn away in one of the worst months of my life. Neither of us were happy about it but it was what it was. For a few months I was okay but as things really got worse in the summer of 2011, I have gone backwards significantly. I do find I try to use some of the things I was taught but it would sure help if the other people in my life would react the way they are supposed to! It all seems so clear when talking in therapy or in reading books that if you change and do X, then other people will do Y. Not!

    I wish I could find a good group locally because I would love to have the friendship. I did try one group years ago when I first started with my therapist but it really wasnt a good fit because these people didnt have difficult child's. They were so very not understanding when I went off over some of the things going on with difficult child. I tend to be quite verbal when angry and many of them thought I was completely awful because of some of the things I said. To be honest I cant blame someone who has never had a difficult child. One of the women had two kids in a prestigious college on a full academic scholarship. She could never conceive of what my life was like. We were on different planets!
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member


    I'm so proud of you! Now you can retire your hairshirt! You are an inspiration, I mean it.

  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Recovering, what a fabulous update! So glad to hear the progress you have made letting go and moving forward. Enjoy the new book!

  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I love it that you've made it this far, Recovering. You've listed signposts and stumbling blocks along the way, and described what it feels like to be healthy enough to expect respectable behavior from others.

    That is an amazing thing, to chose to be that healthy and strong, and to act on those choices without excuses or regret.

    I've seen a little of that spread effect you noted, as we've gone through these months. It feels strange to realize the feelings I've held, the excuses I've covered them up with, the simple compassion under the defensiveness.

    The hurt, and the shame. The resentment, still pretty much burning merrily away.... The gift of understanding there is another way to see it all.

    I'm happy and proud for you, Recovering. Congratulations! This will be your time of exploration and change, your time to make what you have learned your own.

    I am really pleased for you.

    How does that go? I send you my laughter.


  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yay RE! So proud of you! So happy for you!
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you.

    DJ- I wish you had a good support group or therapist too...........it's sure been helpful for me. Being around others experiencing the same things is very healing..........I wish that for you.........

    CJ- I can't even tell you how much I've laughed about that hair shirt thing you told me about. And, it was also a great phrase to stop the on-going thought process which I had outgrown but was so hard to let go of. Thank you for that image, it's been amazingly helpful.

    Sharon and Busywend, thanks for being cheerleaders for me in this "adventure" I've been on, it's so wonderful to have others be so supportive in such a difficult experience.

    Barbara, it's kind of a strange thing to say, however, along with many other feelings I have about my daughter, I feel grateful to her for 'forcing' me to be healthier and learn how to assert boundaries which keep the negative or toxic behaviors of others from harming me. I learned a great lesson...............how others behave is about THEM, not ME. I used to believe it was ME, that I did something wrong, that I had to take responsibility for the actions and behaviors of others.........that somehow I could change that..............realizing it is about them and not me is unbelievably liberating. Realizing that also helps heal that 'shame' Brene Brown speaks of in her book...........

    I appreciate all the good thoughts. I joined this forum about 2 months after I started the codependency program. All the support and guidance I received here, along with therapy, support groups and anything else I could utilize, gave me everything I needed to make the changes necessary to detach, accept, thrive and find my joy again. I have much to be grateful for. Thank you all.
  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I'm glad you are doing so well RE! I found it to be a struggle to accept what I can not control. My difficult child has been NC for almost a year and it has been bittersweet.

    I have taken the time to focus on my spiritual, physical, and emotional metal health. Things I could not have done with the constant daily stress of a full fledged difficult child.

    in my opinion, the hardest part for many of us is trying to figure out where we went wrong and what we should have done better. Which really doesn't make much sense as we certainly can't change the future.

    During the past year I have accepted myself as a flawed human being and have forgiven myself, and surprising to me, forgiven so many people I felt had wronged me in the past. Like you, the more I practiced my decision to no long be an enabler, some people in my life drifted away. It was difficult for me at first, but now I am much happier, after I finally gave myself permission to say no.

    The world is not a perfect place and I wish us all peace on our journey. Enjoy your grand's senior year and plans for your retirement.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have problems with that whole thing where I am not able to control other people because I get put in the position quite often of being forced into the position of the one who has to take care of problems.

    In this I am more talking about the situation with Buck than the kids really. I wanted badly to step out of that role of doing things for him because when I did everything for him, it made me very mad when he didnt react and do the things I thought he should be doing. I felt taken advantage of. It felt to me as if when we were nice enough to allow him to live here he should at least try to do a few things we asked instead of lying to me/us. The lying got me but husband just thought I was awful and wrong to figure out he was lying.

    Well I was the one putting the work in for his brother not him. I was the one who was forced to fill out paperwork, attempt to get him help. He wouldnt move out of his chair to do it himself. And when I said I was simply going to stop doing anything for him I was told I was selfish and that if I didnt help, he would live here forever. I wasnt allowed to detach. My theory had come that if I did nothing for him I wouldnt be as upset when he didnt get whatever he needed done. I wanted to put his issues back on him so that he would have to figure out how to handle his life. That just wasnt allowed.

    Im telling you, when he finally moved away I have not even wanted to see him. I was at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and monkey was with me. She spotted Buck in the store and wanted to go say hi but I said no and we went up to pay and left. I just want nothing to do with him. I know he is in the hospital and I felt ticked off because husband wanted to stop in and see him one evening when we were out. I told him to go up but I had no interest but that he had 45 minutes to visit because I was going to pick up supper and I would be back at that time and he better be waiting for me when I got back to the hospital or I would leave him there. husband came out at the right time...lol.

    I will never allow myself to be put in that position with him again. I would leave and sleep in my new car while selling the trailer out from under them. I am pretty sure that husband has become fed up too because we did what we could for him and now he has to figure his life out himself. He now has income from SSI and he can figure out how to make it on that.

    I cant help that I think its funny when the woman he is now living with comes back to my house and rants about him. I just shake my head and say I know how you feel...lol.