We heard from difficult child. Doing well.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    difficult child called yesterday. She was sober. Asked that her weekly money and copies of her transcripts be sent to an address in the far northern part of the state. There is work there for a person with a degree, even if she doesn't teach.

    So, that is good, good news.

    With difficult child out of imminent danger, it is time for me to begin doing and concentrating on, healthy, happy things.

    Maybe I will do some yoga, and practice that same meditation technique I was telling Witz about this morning.

    I may even begin doing Tai Chi, again. I haven't done it but three times, since we got back.


    That is the hard part too, about having difficult child children. If by some miracle the pressure is off, we don't know what to do with ourselves, how to get back to, and enjoy, the rhythms of normal life.

    Worry, as Recovering always tells us, is a habit.

    Coping with life at the edge of bad expectation ~ that difficult child would die, that she was being beat ~ all those coping skills take such energy, steal so much head room.

    It is interesting to see, now that we might be on the other side of this, just how much time, energy, and oh, I don't know ~ curiosity about what life might hold, I suppose ~ have been buried under something very dark.

    And how we are too engrossed in difficult child problems to even know that we've left our own lives hanging; unfinished, unexplored, uncelebrated.

  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As challenging as your new found peace may be......ENJOY it! Sooooo happy that you get the chance to feel this way. Warning, next round gets harder and more frustrating (from what I have read here). So be prepared for your reaction to next time. In fact, notify your difficult child in advance what your reaction will be. Then hope and pray you never have to put that plan in use.
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It is hard to let go of the angst. I don't know that it will ever totally be gone. I imagine it lessens with time. Learning to do for ourselves is a process and will feel alien and somehow "wrong" in the begining.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, I am glad that your difficult child is doing better. I am very happy to hear you taking your life back. You are so right, our difficult child's lives do "steal so much head room."

    Since I am muddling through this as well, here is my 'tip of the day', don't allow your daughter's ups and downs to rule your life...... now that she is 'up' you can breathe, however, if she falters (and God I hope she doesn't) then you could go plummeting down the same slippery slope. Enjoy your moments immensely, live your life, no matter what your difficult child does try to stay in a balance point................... as I say that I realize that is what I am working on too, just staying in that balance point, regardless of what others are doing or not doing...............

    Go celebrate life! And I will do the same!
  5. Barbara - I am so glad that you are getting some much needed relief in all this difficult child drama. I sure hope that now that she is safe and sober she can start to find her way to a more normal life and behaviour. That she can put the medical and therapeutic supports into place that she needs.

    I like that you have a plan to get back into your old healthy routines of taking care of yourself. Good for you!
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Ha! Here is the thing. I am so used to being literally glued to Conduct Disorders that I can't seem to get started on my healthiness. :O)

    I suppose it must be a step by step rising into healthy?

    How about this one:

    How poor are they that have not patience;
    What wound did ever heal, but by degree?

    That's Shakespeare. I don't know where from.

    But it must be the same thing with reclaiming our lives and time. I am in a certain mindset. I feel stuck there. I have nothing to feel badly about this morning AT ALL. There is still an underlying sense of dread, though.


    Does chocolate work for that?


  7. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    I think pasajes4 hit the nail on the head: "It is hard to let go of the angst" she said. My difficult child has been on the other side of the world for two and a half years. He seems to be living a normal life, working and supporting himself and sharing an apartment with another guy, cooking food that he sends us photos and films of on Wattsapp in real time, and all sorts of positive things. And yet, and yet, I still cannot relax completely in relation to him. It's true that in our home there is much more peacefulness, you can't compare it, but still I feel that threatening feeling somewhere deep in the background of my mind and my heart.

    Barbara, I hope and pray for you that it will continue and you will be able to find peace vis-a-vis your daughter and that she will leave this awfully bad period in her life far behind her. I think something like Tai Chi is great, and you really should throw yourself back into that sort of stuff. I think I would like to start learning and doing Tai Chi or yoga. But give yourself time, a lot of time, for finding inner peace.

    I don't want to sound too pessimistic. I can honestly say that after two and a half years, I miss that child. It took a long time, but I miss him. For a very very long time I was just grateful to the powers-that-be that he was very very far away. I am planning a trip to Australia (in January, I think. I hope to meet Marg then and Marg's Man). I wonder what it will be like to spend three whole weeks with him.

    My thoughts and my heart are with you, Barbara.

    Love, Esther
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You made me laugh, yes, we certainly can have a few setbacks on our way to being healthy and disengaged from our children's lives!

    I totally get the dread, you've been accustomed to a certain mindset, it becomes your normal, changing that back, resetting that point, takes some doing, let me tell you! I have a lot of help Barbara, I feel like I need it to push me over that old mountain of drama my entire family brought to my door. You've had literally decades of this stuff with your son and daughter, it's only natural that it's going to take some re-training on our parts.

    Chocolate works! Massage, acupuncture, yoga, therapy, groups, exercise, going to the gym, facials, manicures, long drives far from town, going to the beach, reading a good book, writing, dinners out, hacking around with friends, long walks/hikes.............you know, LIVING!

    It's taken a big commitment for me to shift my life focus away from the 'other' and onto myself, it's like a rusty old door that requires oil and movement to get back in the smooth swing once again...............one step at a time, each day closer to our own lives, our own dreams and adventures..............Barbara, may the force be with you!
  9. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Our generation was raised to put everyone before us, from what I see around me this one is not. We do feel guilty about doing things for us when we know our loved ones are not making sound decisions to be responsible for themselves.

    Yesterday was my difficult child's 35 birthday. He was speaking to me the last one and I usually send him a generous check. After I gave him $$$ to help him relocate and start over I told him that was his birthday present and for the first time in his life I did not waiver. I had no address to send him a card so I posted a birthday message on FB.

    He went no contact in November so I did not send money or a card for Christmas. I have no clue where he is and he has my telephone number to call collect when and if he wants to talk to me.

    Mine lies about having a sponsor and going to meetings. I suspect there is more than alcohol or pot going on but he has denied it. I was a little down yesterday at 4:58 PM (his birth time) but I ran some errands and focused on the baking I am doing today for a breast cancer charity event.

    I send good vibes and prayers that your daughter will stay on this path. When mine was clean and sober I actually looked forward to his calls. Maybe that's why this time I finally said no more and meant it.

    Stay busy and enjoy the peace! I'm working very hard to not let my son's ups and downs ruin my life. I know people that can not function when their child is having problems. I'm trying very hard to go the other way.
    (((peace and blessings for us all)))
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Chocolate works for everything! I'm glad that you have a little room to take a deep breath and relax. RE is right, though, as much as I hate to say it, there will probably be bad times ahead and I think being on the roller coaster is the hardest part of dealing with a difficult child. Having hopes built up and dashed over and over again takes a big toll on our emotional and physical health.

    I like the idea of finding a balance point but not sure how to do it.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am also glad to hear that you heard from your daughter. I'm one of those who's life has rode that emotional roller coaster along with my difficult child's. When they were doing well, I seemed to be doing better but when one of them went down then so did I. It is taking me a long time to get over that and I'm not completely there yet. It does help though when the children are living away. You dont have it in your face all the time.
  12. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    There is a saying from somewhere that you are only as happy as your unhappiest child. It's true for me, and even when everyone is ok I always have a little anxiety attack every time every my phone rings. Does that ever go away?
    Exercise has always been so helpful to me, there is such a peaceful and fulfilled feeling I got when I was finished. Do anything healthy, ride your bike with husband. My husband and I have been doing that lately. Do something fun with him, enjoy your peace. I think that we can appreciate the peace more than parents who have always had it.
    Skotti, that is true about when he was at his worst, I was also. I was addicted to exercise, I could easily see how a person could lose their marbles, it happened to me too.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    "And how we are too engrossed in difficult child problems to even know that we've left our own lives hanging; unfinished, unexplored, uncelebrated."

    Barbara, I too am glad that your daughter is doing better. And I pray it continues.

    EDIT: I just read another of your recent posts. Normally I feel it is best to back off as much as possible from adult difficult child woes and to do our best to lead our own lives...helping here and there where we can. However, your story has the frightening added twist of the threat of physical abuse and even murder! I'm so sorry. In this case, by all means, more involvement and perhaps police involvement makes sense!

    Upallnight: I don't like that expression at all re: being as happy as your unhappiest child. Goodness...it has been hard enough as it is, but if I had allowed that expression/thought to take root in my brain, I would of had a life filled 90% of misery. My difficult child is often unhappy, unstable, in trouble, weird, hyper, filled with anguish...etc.I suffer with health problems and have a difficult child. I think many of us have that very difficult combination. I know I personally can not afford allowing myself to be too strongly influenced by difficult child and her moods, bad thinking, unhappiness...problems.

    I'm human and it happens....but I make a strong effort to push being unhappy because my daughter is unhappy etc. aside.
    Like I have said before, I will never ever figure out why she and others are mentally ill and why so many individuals and their families hurt so badly. But, it is what it is. And, it wont help her one bit to join her in misery.
    And it could hurt me and my relationship with my spouse and friends.

    It's worth the push to enjoy life to the very best of our abilities even with this difficulty in the background.

    Lasted edited by : Jul 11, 2013
  14. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Nomad, I wish I could be like you. My husband says ,"He's either gonna make or he's not." He doesn't let difficult child's or easy child's actions bother him. I get upset anyway even though I have no control. I have not posted about my easy child's situation but that's in my mind constantly. I want to let things roll off my back, and I pretend, but it's all fake.
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    This is true for me too, upallnight.

    Nomad, I celebrate your freedom from this kind of pain. I do, Nomad. Good for you! Maybe one day, I will get there, too.

    But I agree with the statement that we are only as happy as our unhappiest child with my whole heart.

    I don't mean to live my life that way.

    I don't seem to have a choice about it.

    When both kids were doing well? I was happy, prideful, quick to say something wonderful about my kids. Having been where I had been, I took joy too, in the simple ability to SAY positive things about my own children. I would like, marvel at my good fortune after having such a long, hard time of it.

    I even managed to live without this site!


    Having been in both places?

    It feels to me like neither place was voluntary. When my kids (whatever their ages) are happy and healthy, so am I. Only, having been in such sad places with them, I reveled in the happy times. I felt golden. When this badness happened? Though I fought it for all I was worth, I went crashing through the barriers and tumbling down the emotional whatever it is we go through, double-time. I am quicker to understand how really bad everything is and can get, this time around.

    And I have been right. It did get bad. Really, really bad, really fast.

    It's been horrifying.

    I feel that husband and I have survived it? But we are nowhere near intact or healthy. We are claiming our lives? Whereas, before this happened, our lives and the lives of our extended family were the same, seamless thing. Everyone complaining about, or taking joy in, the same kinds of everyday things. Extended family meeting here, with us ~ or hoping to, or regretting that this year, they couldn't make it. Not even to see us, specifically, so much as to be together with everyone. Food, music, sunshine, too many laughing people in too little space. Never enough places to park.



    Our family is scattered, our relationships with each of them so different, now. So much pain and fear and resentment. Questions, bewilderment, confusion. Everyone trying to put a happy face on things. Everyone trying not to say the wrong thing. Me, setting a place for the missing ones ~ except there were too many missing, this year.

    Lying to the neighbors, and to the people who don't need to know, about where and why those usually here are not here, this year.

    I know that we will come to terms with whatever this turns out to be. I know our lives will go on. But boy, it's so (swear words :O) hard for me, Nomad.

    Tears at the back of my throat, all the time. Sadness, a little lethargy. This strangely growing fascination with all things chocolate, most doughnuts, and all pasta.


    Ha! Okay, so it's not all bad.

  16. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Ew. That last post was kind of a downer.

    I'm going to leave it up? But I'm also going to say that the following books and practices have been very helpful. I know we are all doing our best to be responsible to those we love while finding our ways toward happiness and stability for ourselves. I know there is a way to do this. Like anything worthwhile though, it takes time to learn strength (Lack of fear ~ which turns out to be the understanding that, whatever it is, we will do our best. And that, good or bad, that will be enough.), grace (Which turns out, I think, to be simple acceptance of what is. No need to dress it up, tear it down, or try to figure out why ~ just acceptance.), and compassion.

    I am still working more on compassion than on the other two. That has to do with acceptance, too. I would say that, for right now, I am trying to understand whether this was willful or whether difficult child has been victimized by something she truly cannot control. That whole business with the Cymbalta.... Not being able to sleep without alcohol because her brain was going too fast....

    And yet, the willfulness of having those same, bad people in her life again. With her children in the house! {GRRRR.... Very, very angry about that, still. Like, red-eyed.}

    I think that what happens to us when the immediate crises have been resolved is that we make a decision as to whether we have been played for fools (Is the difficult child an addict?), or whether we are coping with an illness.

    It's like someone here on the site used to say: We would not judge or turn away from our children if they were suffering from cancer.

    Once we know what happened, then we can choose to heal. Even when the bad things are happening, we can be aware of how to cope in the healthiest way we know. Part of that is by re-defining what IS happening. That is where the Joel Osteen material has been so helpful for me.

    Helpful things:

    Joel Osteen books and sermons. His attitude toward life's challenges is that we are meant to triumph; that we are meant to be happy; that we are meant to fulfill our dreams and achieve our individual destinies. That whatever our private, most secret dream is, we were born to fulfill it. He believes that how we believe a thing is going to conclude affects the conclusion, so we had best be sure we are thinking, feeling, and believing, positively.

    This has been most helpful, to me.

    Posting here, of course. Very strengthening, to come here, to know all of you.


    As Recovering had posted, Frankl's Mankind's Search for Meaning. This book helps us understand how important our perception of the meaning of what is happening to us is. He teaches that, though we may have power in no other area, though we may never forget being helplessly traumatized again and again (as he was, and as everywhere he looked, everyone he knew was) that we are the ones who will define the meaning of what has happened, to us, and to those we love.

    Music: Adelle's Set Fire to the Rain / Rolling in the Deep Not so sure those titles are correct. Cyndi Lauper does one about True Colors which make me cry for difficult child every time I listen to it.

    Dean Martin, to just be happy to. That dorky Roy Orbison. :O)

    What are some positive musical pieces (or books) we all have read that might help others of us, I wonder?

    I will start a new post, so none of us misses that discussion.

  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Barbara... one of the challenges is that way too often, it is both, and there is no easy way to figure out which came first.
  18. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    True. (Ha! I almost said, "True, Insane." Don't want to call you that.)

    Having had a child whose life fell apart due to drugs, and one whose life just kept falling apart...there was always a difference in the way difficult child daughter presented. She always seemed as confused, hurt, and surprised by what was happening to her as we were. There were very few times (and those would have happened as she set sail down the rabbit hole this time) that difficult child daughter was mean.

    When our son began using drugs however, the personality change was immediate, intense, and mean as a snake. There was alot of blaming. difficult child daughter invariably blames herself, believes everyone else is good, is generous to a fault. difficult child daughter has always worked very hard. (Except for now.)

    Now that difficult child son is not using? Very hard worker. Amazing man. When he was using? No interest in work, career, or school. It was all about the easy buck. As time has passed, and difficult child has begun feeling better about himself, as he has come to respect and believe in himself, again...the blaming, the horrible accusations, that feeling of entitlement ~ all that stuff has changed. We'll still get a hit of that, once in awhile. He is very, very angry about the attention difficult child daughter has received, and about the way she has lived her life.

    difficult child son was never violent, even during the worst of his using.

    difficult child daughter? Blonde, blue-eyed, small boned, can display (seems to enjoy talking about, and minimizes) violent lifestyles and violent people.

    So, I would say that we help a child addicted to drugs by forcing the bottom and leaving them there if they refuse to stop using. We need to get our own feet on firm ground and tell the addicted child he is better than to do what he is doing. That we will not watch him destroy himself, and that we certainly are not going to help him do it. That seemed to work, for difficult child son.

    I don't know yet, what I say about the child who is dealing with what difficult child daughter seems to be dealing with. You are right. There is drug use involved with difficult child daughter when she is like this.

    From what I have seen though, there is a big difference between the way a child using drugs looks at and interacts with his parents and the way a child who may have problems determining reality interacts with her parents.

    Or maybe, that is just a gender thing?

    No...I think there is a real difference in hostility between the two. difficult child daughter always left home to be bad. difficult child son made it a point to COME home to be bad. It was like he relished rubbing our noses in his failure. He WANTED to live at home. The more we helped him though...it wasn't until HE decided he had had enough that he stopped using. He did try, many times. Many times, he came home. He would do so well for awhile. Then, right back to the old ways.

    And he blamed us for everything under the sun.

    That's how it was at my house, anyway.

  19. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think watching my mom die young...taught me that life was meant to be enjoyed to the best of our ability.

    i think having health problems...lots of painful illnesses, reinforced that thought strongly.

    i had to have my own therapy, read many books and perhaps even my own MS degree in the field reinforced the concept that we are responsible for our own happiness, that we deserve to be happy and that we absolutely can not
    change people, unless possibly they themselves want that very change.

    This change that has occurred in me has been the hardest, most challenging and most confusing thing I have ever experienced.

    We give difficult child help when and where we can, usually on a limited basis. I give it all to my Higher Power. I rarely suffer extensive turmoil anymore. I know in my heart that I gave it 110% up until she was 21, and I help her now as appropriate. There is nothing left for me to do, but help her on a limited basis. To do more, would hurt me. I fight for my good health almost daily. I can't afford to feel sorry for myself nor to expend energy foolishly. I hope for the best, but know full well the painful reality. I wasted much time being angry...now I'm mostl in acceptance and do my very best to enjoy life to the best of my ability.
  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Nomad.