Where is he? Is he okay?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Hi again. Our 28yo son J has not responded to text messages and phone calls for several days. This is a first, and I am struggling with anxiety about his wellbeing. My husband checked his phone history yesterday, and his phone has been used, and since it's a "fingerprint password" entry, he himself can only use it, so I have to assume that he is alive and is just choosing not to respond.
    This is what I have feared for some time. That one day he would break all contact with us and disappear. I know I need to disengage but I feel such a strong need to know that he is "safe" as far as "safe" goes in his circumstance. There is absolutely nothing I can do, other than pray and trust God to care for him, and that is so hard.
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    One other thing: I came across two books on Amazon that look really good and thought maybe some of you might be helped: One is "Done With Crying" by Sheri McGregor and the other is
    When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving Them Anyway, and Getting on with Our Lives. I've ordered the second book and will let you know what I think. I've also contacted a counseling office and am trying to find out if I can get a reduced rate to get in to see one of their counselors. I'll keep you all posted.
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  3. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I'm sorry this is happening. I know how stressful it is to not have contact and wonder if they are OK. At one point my daughter took my infant granddaughter and moved to Ohio to be with a man she met on the internet. For awhile there was no contact with her. I was beside myself with fear and anxiety. I had to learn to reframe my focus on myself, rather than her or I couldn't function. I read lots of books about detachment and boundaries. I spent time figuring out what I really enjoyed and what made me feel healthy. I spent lots of time walking in nature with my dogs and I cried plenty. I spent a lot of time on these boards. However, I used this time to learn to live a relatively happy and peaceful life no matter what the situation with my daughter is. I hope you can use this time in a similar way to find out how to focus on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend going through the same situation. It doesn't happen overnight and I still sometimes struggle with boundaries and codependency but it's much easier to get myself back on track because of the work I have done. Sending peace and love to you.
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  4. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you elizabrary. Some days I am able to pray for him as he comes to mind and then move on to my life; other days, I feel so much grief and despair. This board helps me a lot. Knowing that other good, loving parents have found themselves in similar situations helps ease the burden.
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  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Beta, it has been awhile since I have posted. I am so sorry for your grieving Mommas heart. I know the feeling all too well. It has been months since I have heard from my two.
    I pray for them daily, and have learned to let God and let go. It sounds so cliche, but it has been a lifeline for me, to place them into His care.
    It is hard. I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way. After years of the craziness of it all, I had to realize that if I was asking in faith, then it would take faith and patience to bring calm into my own life, despite what may be happening in theirs. It has become a practice for me to keep praying, especially when I feel those pangs of fear of the unknown. It helps to put out the flames of anxiety, lest they build and consume me completely.
    Keep praying and posting and get your feelings out. Grief comes in many forms and waxes and wanes. The difficult part, is grieving over lifestyle choices, no contact, unanswered questions. It is a harder journey than losing a loved one in death. There is a finality to that. This, is ongoing.
    Keep fighting the good fight, cry when you need to, then pick yourself up and rebuild.
    The holidays always magnify the feelings. We are definitely not living that Norman Rockwell painting.
    One day at a time. Take very good care of yourself, you matter.
    You are not alone Beta. Sending big hugs.
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  6. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Beta, I know how hard it is to turn off that panic and worry. Mine go dark fairly frequently, either because their phones are off (they both use burner phones with pre-paid minutes) or because they just don't feel like talking to me. Which usually means they are involved in something they know would upset me. I went into full panic mode about 3 weeks ago when C's phone was off and there was an unidentified shooting victim in the area I know he stays most frequently. You all here had to talk me down off that ledge.

    For me, I've had to adopt the philosophy of "no news is good news" - if the police aren't at my door or on the phone this minute with bad news, I try to assume there is nothing for me to know and nothing for me to do. My grandmother used to say "No use borrowing trouble" - or, don't waste time worrying about troubles that aren't confirmed and in front of you right now. I hear her voice saying this sometimes when I find myself wandering into the realm of "24-hour mother disaster headline news". My grandma was a stoic, pragmatic woman, and I try to channel that when I feel myself going over the edge. I remind myself that there are 100 reasons for silence, not all of them bad and most of them not indicating a life-or-death situation. Sometimes, our kids just don't want to talk to Mom. Perhaps they don't want our voices in their heads when they are pursuing things they know we would disagree with. Perhaps whatever they are living through right now is so all-consuming they can't spare a thought and the time for us. Perhaps not answering us is a way of asserting their independence, or punishing us for perceived transgressions. Who knows? I try not to live in speculation, but to live in the world of verified fact. To let things unfold as they will and take each revelation as it comes.

    But I know it is hard. Some days are easier than others.
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have a 30 year old J who is adopted, biracial, mentally ill (he says he is bipolar, I doubt it) and homeless. I understand the agony. On better days I can do this (Thank you Elsi):
    My aspiration is this:
    I am struggling with what are religious concepts completely foreign to the way I have lived my life so far. They are the only ones that seem to suit. What is G-d's will? And where do I have free will? Acceptance and surrender to what is, in life, but at the same time having boundaries against where I should not go. Even in love. Probably especially in love.

    The gist of it for me is this: How do we carve out a life that is separate from those we love? How do we walk away? How do we take the active role, the leaver, not the passive one, the left? How do we choose to be a separate individual, especially if that is alone?

    I am not talking about cutting off our children. I am talking about owning ourselves. Of owning our psychological landscapes. Of being whole. Of doing the work so that I do not feel as if my heart is walking around some street far away from my body, and that I am missing essential pieces of myself.

    So much of our collective stories are about loss. The hardest parts seem to be when we choose to walk away, to be apart from the ones we love. Being left is oh so much easier. I am beginning to think that with my son I have chosen the passive role, instead of taking responsibility for myself.

    When our sons choose to not respond to texts, or go off the reservation, this causes agony and dread, because we feel passive and at the mercy of them and their stories. It's like waiting for calls from boyfriends as a young women. What if we are choosing this?

    What would be my alternative? To choose to remove myself from this script, and do the psychologically leaving myself. By that I refer to deciding to emotionally remove myself from the drama which really is not mine to carry. I think this is part of what New Leaf is saying.

    What part really do we have in the stories our sons are crafting with their lives?
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa...dear friend...we have a part in every childs life until they are 18. Maybe thats too old and most are emotionally detaching by 16. That is the age I started getting myself and my.kids ready to be adults. That for me was when I let them make important life decisions and when we started transitioning from me parent to me your cheerleader and friend.

    There is no way to be an actual parent to an adult. Yes, yes, sometimes they come to me wanting or needing a mommy, for a hug, for reassurance, for love. Most of the time though they have made decisions before I hear about them and they are not looking for input or criticism.

    At a certain time in life they write their own stories and we are not a part of it unless we decide to house and support them. Then we are still there, although they may resent us.

    I have read that God gives us our kids until age 18.

    We dont have to walk away for our kids to be making their own footprints in the sand. We can be there, but our impact is not as great. It is natural, even if we have kids who struggle.

    This doesnt mean we are not loved. Only speaking for myself, I am sure my kids love me very much. But they dont want me to criticize their choices. They still seek approval. Now some adult kids who bring us here need our wisdom even if they dont want it. And some actions we can not approve of.

    But we cant walk their paths for them other than as a loving presence in their world.

    Your son knows how much you love him and I know he loves you back. My experience, which certainly does not mean everyone's, is that adult girl children are more touchy/feely and verbally affectionate than boys. In my world at least my girls can easily express and show affection. Sonic can too but not as effusively. Bart can when he wants to, but it isnt every time I talk to him, like with the girls. Yet I know he loves me a lot.

    You know your son loves you too even if he doesnt say so each time you talk. But he makes his own foot prints. They all do.

    Love and hugs! Find peace in your heart today. J is fine!
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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  9. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I think two words sum it up: self-compassion

    We have so much compassion for everyone else but do we have compassion for our own hearts and what we have had to endure? If not, we need to search for that.

    I heard a story last night from my son that a young man that graduated from his program 3 months ago (we attended the graduation during our visit with our son) died from a heroin overdose a few weeks ago. Actually two days before our son graduated from the program.
    I remember this young man well. He was 22. He had movie star good looks and was very confident. His mother was a physician and his father owned a company. He had two sisters. They gave him a brand new Ford F-150 upon his graduation. He was poised and confident and filled with the Holy Spirit. I remember wishing my son could be like him. I felt he would go far in life. He had it all.

    My son did not tell us until last night because he did not want us to think that this boy's death had anything to do with him. How could it not affect me? I cannot stop thinking about him, his family and the speech that he made at his graduation. He had it all.
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    "It is hard. I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way. After years of the craziness of it all, I had to realize that if I was asking in faith, then it would take faith and patience to bring calm into my own life, despite what may be happening in theirs. It has become a practice for me to keep praying, especially when I feel those pangs of fear of the unknown. It helps to put out the flames of anxiety, lest they build and consume me completely.
    Keep praying and posting and get your feelings out. Grief comes in many forms and waxes and wanes. The difficult part, is grieving over lifestyle choices, no contact, unanswered questions. It is a harder journey than losing a loved one in death. There is a finality to that. This, is ongoing."

    New Leaf, this is so true, all of it. It IS a journey, and one that never comes to completion.

    Elsi, I'm pretty sure he's punishing me (us) for the many perceived "transgressions" we have committed against him in his mind. I have come to the decision not to text him or phone him anymore. There is no point and I'm probably just reinforcing his satisfaction in his desire to punish.

    Copa-The questions you raise are insightful. "How do we walk away?" "How do we take the active role, the leaver, not the passive one, the one left?" I think we probably all vacillate back and forth between being the one who sets the boundaries to being the one passively waiting on them. It's exhausting--spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I too have to wonder, "Why am I choosing this?" I'm still working through that one, as well as the others.
    I just spoke with a dear friend, who took a moment to pray with me, and she reminded me of a precious scripture in I Peter: "Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you." So today, this is what I will do. He is God; He loves J more than I do, and He is big enough to care for him and to carry me through this.
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  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is what I am saying. Understanding that emotionally removing ourselves does not equate to not caring. It is key to disentangle from the web of consequences of our adult kids choices, for our own survival and I believe it releases the reins to where they belong-with them.They are adults. We have absolutely no control over their decisions. What will happen when we are gone? They will continue to make their own decisions. I won't base my life on what my two decide. It is a tremendous loss to my peace, my joy. It is an unacceptable waste of the breath gifted to me. We are each given the blessing of life. What we choose to do with that each and every day is our choice, and ours alone.
    If our kids were doing well, living away from us, they could still choose not to contact us, or something, anything could happen to them at any given moment, and we would still have no control. That is just.....life.
    When I feel bereft over the loss of hubs, my two wayward's out there somewhere, it is a signal to me that I am lacking in self care. That I have to slow down and pause and take time to let the grief pass through me.There were times when I could not look back at joy filled moments in our lives because it caused more grief over what isn't. I had to work through that. Now, I can be thankful for the blessings we did have, and rely on those memories to embolden me to move forward in my life.
    It really is a sort of shifting and recalibrating, recognizing unhealthy emotional patterns that keep me tethered and stuck.
    I carry a quote with me and I apologize that I have no idea who authored it. I read and reread it.
    "The development of self acceptance from facing adversity is your freedom from quiet desperation and will be a great gift you earn."
    It means different things to me at different times. Today, it means that when I am feeling troubled, there is a lesson in it, there is more to learn and grow from. Am I walking this journey because I don't know enough about myself, my own faith? How do I stay grounded and balanced, yet move forward and grow.
    Our stagnating does nothing for our beloveds. I do believe our living to our fullest capacity and potential becomes a beacon to those we wish would live likewise. It is not selfish, it is being the change.
    Much love and hugs.
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  12. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Adding on to what New Leaf says I think that removing ourselves from the drama these kids love and seek out provides a role model for them. I am showing my daughter that there is a way to live a peaceful, fulfilled life no matter what our loved ones choose for themselves. When she sees that I am sure of who I am, that I have confidence in myself, my values and the way I live my life then maybe she will one day choose to live that way herself. She is always very invested in having a boyfriend and her happiness depends on him and how he is feeling. I hope that she sees I can love her, yet still be happy and at peace even when she is not. I hope that when we are able to detach and live this way it provides that spark that they need to realize there is another, better way to live if they choose it.
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  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is very true. Eliza. I am going to post this quote of yours on my own new thread.

    I texted my son this morning because in a text before Thanksgiving he had mentioned he had been ill. I had texted a couple of times and he had not responded. This time he responded immediately, using his martyr, woe is me demeanor. This is his side of the conversation.

    "I'm not well. I'm not well at all."

    "No health issues. At this point, existentially I have failed. What happened in August was definitive" (that was when I kicked him out.)

    "I'm at the point of no return. It's way too late for any reparations. VERY sad times ahead."

    "Even though it's a month away, Happy Holidays." (Which is his passive aggressive way of saying go :censored2: yourself.)

    At this point he knows fully what are my expectations and boundaries. He chooses NOT to fulfill them, and I choose not to budge either, because what I ask is basic, that he protect his health and do the most minor things to preserve it. Really. If he only went to the liver doctor, that would be enough for him to return home. For some reason he will not even do that. Fear. Whatever. I am unsure.

    I am feeling like if I fold about this, I model to him that there is no hope in life. No way to say no to horrible things. No way to resist. No hope to chart another course other than fatalistic acceptance of the lowest common denominator.

    I have told him hundreds of time that there is a way back here, but that way back entails some choice on his part to put into place just one positive thing for himself and his life. He is not a pet. He is a person. I do not want to be the person in his life that models to him that you can just do nothing in life, and that is enough.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Oh RN. For some reason I did not read your post right away...maybe it was the words self-compassion...which is an oxymoron in my own psychology.

    But OMG how very, very sad is this story. I feel oh so very, very sad for his parents. No matter their strengths, their resources, their love and hope...they could not protect their child. I do not know how one lives through this, which is why we are here together to learn how to bear even the faintest echo of words like this.
    I am so very, very sorry, that this had to come even this close to you. And I feel very sad for your son. His pain. His fear.

    Of course he is afraid. Of course on some level he knows this is about his own life and choices. He knew. And that is why he did not speak of it. The responsibility on his part must feel very heavy. As it should. I don't even know what more to say. Except that I do not know sometimes how we bear what we do.
  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    "There were times when I could not look back at joy filled moments in our lives because it caused more grief over what isn't." New Leaf, this statement hit me because this is what I am working through also. Past moments come to my mind, from many different ages, and I find myself reliving them for a moment, and then moving on. In my mind, I'm trying to separate the person J was then as a totally separate person from the person who treats us as his enemy and heaps abuse on us. My photo albums are packed away, and they will stay packed away for the time being. I can't look at them, knowing how hopeful and happy I was about the future then and knowing what I know now. Too painful for the moment.

    On a positive note--I got a text from J last night which was a shock. He said, "My phone was off." Well, maybe, but I doubt it because his phone activity didn't seem to support that, but I simply replied, "I'm just glad to hear from you and know that you're safe." I think he was deliberately punishing us (me especially) and when he thought we had been punished enough, he reappeared with his "my phone was off" excuse. Just another example of how sick he is, that he would deliberately worry us as a way of lashing out at us. When it happens again, as I know it will, I will try to remember this. Thank you for each one of you who took the time to read my post and reply. It truly helps.
  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Beta, I'm getting caught up on some posts after being away for a few days.
    Yes, I agree that they can "punish" us with their silence but I also see it as a test. They are testing us, testing our limits and our boundaries. Just how far can I "push" them before they give in and give me what I want. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on which side of things you are on. I think you are the good side of things in that you are setting boundaries. When our kids go silent, we can do one of two things; we can continually call and text, begging them to tell us they are okay, or we can be still and do nothing. When we call, text and beg we have sent the message that they hold our emotions hostage and they will use that to their advantage. When we are still and do nothing, we send a message that we will not be manipulated.
    I think your response to your son was perfect. You let him know you love him and you did not go into a spiral of questions - "where have you been, what have you been doing, I was worried sick, how could let me worry like that" When we do this, we have again confirmed to them that can hold our emotions hostage.
    You are doing great in detaching!
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