Would like your input, please.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Scent of Cedar *, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    difficult child son (38) has been incommunicado. I have continued to send cards and money for grandchildren on Hallowe'en, Easter, Christmas. When we came North this year, husband did not pack the calendar on which I have everyone's address. I private messaged difficult child son for his address. There was no response in time for the birthday of the grandson born in early June. There is another birthday at the end of June, for second grandson.

    Today, Father's Day, I received a response from the posting I made back in May explaining that I no longer had their address and would son please post it.

    He said: "It's a month late. Why bother."

    So, I feel pretty crummy about that.

    It's not a big thing, I know that. When I was little, those packages or cards from my grandmother meant so much to me that I wanted to give that to my own grandchildren. I understand this is difficult child's right.

    It just feels a little crummy, that's all.

    Father's Day today, too. husband and I were already feeling a little off about difficult child son this Father's Day. That cold message seals that in, too.

    I would still do what I did?

    But it's hard to be strong enough not to want what it seems like every other parent in the world (or at least, every one of those buggers in the Hallmark commercials) has.


  2. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    First of all Happy Father's Day to your husband. It sounds as if he deserves one and I hope you both do something nice like watch the sunset together, go out for ice cream or put on a favorite old movie to treat yourselves.

    As for your situation with your son, I know only too well that they are in the driver's seat when it comes to contact with the grandkids and they can't see the harm in letting their manipulative nature seep into that sacred relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren.

    Here's what I would do...and by saying that, I am in no way implying that it's right for you. I just hope it helps.

    I would send the cards on the date closest to the birthday of the children. If you normally send cash or a little gift, I would put a Mc Donald's or Dairy Queen gift certificate, stickers or little trinket in and say, "for waiting a little longer for your card (or not getting it on the exact day), you get a little something extra". They will start to hope you miss the days by a little. If you think difficult child will not give this to them send cookie bouquets or balloons. And when age appropriate, a drum set or ant farm. difficult child will be on his knees hoping you send a card instead.

    If you still don't have their address, google it. The white pages, Blockshopper and Spokeo can get it right or get pretty darn close. Get close enough and maybe you can call the local post office to give you the exact address or once you get the street, town and zip, put please forward on it. Zillow can help too. All these options should be free. Don't get tricked into subscribing to something. Keep trying. One day the grandkids will be old enough to make their own choices about who they have in their lives. If you have trouble navigating this PM me and I will try.

    As for the Hallmark commercials, I not only cringe when they are on but also struggled with the backstories on the Olympics, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, The Oscars....anywhere kids thank their parents for their influence and strength. Yes, TV is full of land mines. There's a Latuda Bipolar medication that is on every night at 9:30 p.m. bringing my mind right to the situation with difficult child 1. Now TV is off by 9:15.

    The Lord gave us this day. Let's make it a good one. He is the ultimate Father.
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm so sorry Cedar. You made an honest mistake and tried to rectify it and your son takes it as yet another opportunity to beat you up about it.

    He knows just when and where to place the sharp knife. In the exact place you are wounded, in that soft place where you take all the responsibility, where you believe you are already wrong, where your own belief in your inadequacy lives. What a callous ass.

    Has he sent birthday and anniversary and mothers day gifts to you? Does anyone hold HIM accountable for that?

    How interesting that he chose Fathers Day to respond. Really? What a weeny. He should be the one who feels crummy because of how much of a jerk he has turned out to be.

    So he aimed his arrow and hit both you AND husband.

    ("You must be so proud............" )

    I know it hurts your heart and husband's heart too, however, my SO gave me a different perspective at various times when my difficult child acted in the usual ways............he said, "she makes it easy to let go." Their responses are so mean spirited, callous, manipulative and at times downright cruel, and it takes us so long to be able to identify that truth, that perhaps instead of using this information to wound yourself further, you can use it as yet another example of your son's true nature. Because of HIS anger at you, HE is the one ripping his kids off of the opportunity to receive from you. HE has made that choice, not you. He makes it easy to let go.

    Don't allow yourself to go down the road of self cruelty and wishing for something that doesn't exist.

    When you return to your other home you can find the addresses and you can fix it in some fun manner for the kids. For now, you've done EVERYTHING you can, you can't do anything else, so let it go. LET IT GO. That is our mantra around here isn't it? Let go of the illusions of Fathers Day, the illusions of what family is supposed to look like. It looks like this. It looks like what we have. That is the truth. Accept that today, just for today, and you and husband find a new way to celebrate Fathers Day. Go seize this day Cedar, grab it with husband and go do something altogether different.

    You have the power to change how you perceive this.

    I'm sorry that your son has used his anger to harm you. Don't let it in.

    Sending you big hugs and lots of warm thoughts for you and husband to have a wonderful day, no matter what your kids are up to.
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  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi Scent,

    Happy Father's Day to your husband from me, also. Both responses above are so great. I love the drum set idea and I hope Tish's words brought a smile to your face.

    Recovering nailed it.....why are YOU feeling guilty? You tried and your difficult child knew exactly what to say in just a few short words. (and, absolutely, it is exactly like what my difficult child would do).

    Are you and husband doing anything fun today? I sure hope so! I hope the weather is beautiful and you take a nice drive for ice cream or going to a movie if the weather is not beautiful.

    Why do we give Hallmark or television or any other outside fluff that has nothing to do with our relationships whatsoever, the power to make us sad or resentful or add anything to how we are coping/moving forward? I know I do, but YOU need to stop! :rolleyes:

    husband and i went out for dinner last night and he asked, Do you think I'll hear from gfg33 tomorrow? I was taken aback. It has been months and it would be the first Hallmark Day we would have heard from him. But, you know.....i can see gfg33 using today as a way to turn the knife.....thinking, Aha, they will THINK it is a Father's Day message. This will definitely get their attention. Now, they'll get how really through with them I am. (hoping we would grovel and apologize for not sending him $$).

    I feel much stronger today, thanks to responses from Tish and Recovering to you. Please, please have a great rest of the day and report back. You are such a source of wisdom for us.
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  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    What a mules behind.

    About the grands, do you have a clue what school they go to? If so maybe you could call them and see if they would let you send the cards there and they would give them to them. Or I like the idea of using those services the poster above me named and find out where he lives and send very obnoxious gifts.
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    i've read this 3 times and still feel like i'm missing something here... if you asked for address in may for june birthday your request wasn't a month late it was difficult child's response that was.

    I would tell difficult child that it is important to you that your grandchild understands you didn't "blow off" their birthday, their father just has poor etiquette or can't return a message.

    sending hugs and good energy your way

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the difficult child parents of our grandchildren can be PITA's.
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  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    So sorry that you are dealing with this situation.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member



    (Cedar begins plotting her future revenge.)

    Thanks so much, Tish. It made me feel a little less vulnerable, to think about defying difficult child's wishes and finding the address this other way. But...he IS the father. He DOES get to choose whether he wants us in his life, or in the lives of his children.

    He really does.

    That he sent the response on Father's Day was an extra little piece of toxicity. I have been checking my private Facebook messages every day since I sent that message to difficult child. About once a month, I have been sending difficult child a PM asking how they are, just being normal, sort of keeping those channels of communication open (in case the little sh** ever comes to his senses)

    OOOoooo! wherever did THAT come from?!?

    Bad Cedar.



    Long and short of it is that I decided to respect difficult child enough to honor what he has made very clear are his desires and intentions where we are concerned.

    For those who don't know? difficult child cut off communications with us when I told him he needed to stand up, that he had been raised better, that I did not feel badly for him, that I believed things would change for him when he wanted them to change, and that I wasn't sending any more money.

    husband then sent him $700.

    Like always, in the sickness husband and I got into around our difficult child kids, I knew he would.

    And he knew I knew.

    Everything, every single thing, gets so messed up around the issues we confront with our difficult child kids.

    There is loss of respect for one another in a thousand ways.

    But we have sent nothing since then.

    And we are stronger, and are standing up more easily, since then.

    husband spoke with difficult child on the phone re: $700. husband told difficult child that he'd had a chip on his shoulder since he started using drugs as a teen, and that he never, ever wanted to hear that difficult child had talked to his mother (me) like that, again.

    So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


    That kills me, too.

    Or hearing all these other grandmothers prattling on about their grands. Or going to see their grands. Or that their grands are coming to see them.

    Cheesh! Can't these people think of anything better to talk about?!?

    Just kidding.

    I get it that they never talk about their grandchildren to anyone else, and that they are only trying to make me miserable.


    That's true, Recovering. It hits with such intensity that I can hardly swallow...or breathe.

    NO! And how did you know that, Recovering?

    No gifts since the addiction, no cards. Usually a phone call for birthdays and Mother's and Father's Days.



    Ha! I remember that, Recovering!

    Laughing over here.


    True, Recovering.

    It is all so pointlessly, stupidly mean.

    Big hurt for me, for husband, for the kids. What payoff in the world is worth what it costs us....

    He makes it easy to let go.

    Perhaps Recovering, we are the ones who got the payoff, this time.

    I like this! That is what I will do.

    Who cares what difficult child thinks.

    Hard truth, Recovering.

    Our difficult children strip so much of gratitude, so much of the joy of giving, from us.

    Only when they can take it. That is the only way they seem to like it. Everything so sad and desperate and wrong ~ that seems to be what he wants.

    Could this be some way to heal his own pain over my desertion of him when his sister acting out?

    Over the whole ugliness of that whole thing, maybe.

    difficult child will need to stand up in the face of that.

    We did the best we knew.

    We really did.

    I do, Recovering. It's just the shock of the initial onslaught. I never really saw this coming.

    I already have both cards.

    But that's okay. I will send them in October.

    Along with that shiny new drum set Tish was talking about, maybe.


    Remember that movie Caddyshack? Where Bill Murray is talking to the gopher? To the lady golfers?


    That's me, sending that drum set.




    I think our husbands do not reveal their pain over their children to us, Strength. husband showed me a picture in the Sunday paper of a father with twin girls and a son. Maybe you saw it. On the Parade cover, I think it was.

    I knew then, when husband made a point of showing me that beautiful picture on the cover, how much it hurts him to...to be who we are, I guess.

    I feel so fortunate to have each of you too, Strength.

    I wonder if any of us could have come back from the pain of all this, without one another?

    I think the answer there, at least for me, is no.

    I still get blown up over the hurt in it, sometimes.

    Thank you, Strength.

    Janet! Ha!!!



    It may be that he hadn't checked his messages until Father's Day? Maybe, he has changed his Facebook name so I am not privy to anything to do with his children? (difficult child's SO posted pics of the boys for me one time last year.)

    Maybe, he was going to post to husband for Father's Day and changed his mind?

    I don't know.

    I posted back that the reason I wanted to send anything was because I loved his children, of course. (That's just how I posted to him. "Of course", like it was the most normal thing in the world. Which it pretty much is.)

    He may have meant that I missed SO birthday, which was in early May.

    I am okay with everything now. It helps so much, doesn't it, to have one another to work these things through with.

    Even when I felt that initial hit of hurt from difficult child?

    I knew I would come here.

    And because of each of you, I knew I would be okay.

    Thanks, guys.

  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Cedar, I get where you are coming from.

    After Scott cut out the family for reasons still unknown, I kept sending him birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. He never sent any back to any of us so I finally got tired of wasting my time.

    And so our path continues...
  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    One of my friends was involved in a petty family argument some years ago which blew up out of all proportion. Since then one of her sons hasn't spoken to her and doesn't allow her to see her grandchildren or send cards. She has opened savings accounts for her grandsons and she puts a small amount away for each every birthday and christmas and she has made short video tapes for them each year. She hopes that one day the children will be able to make up their own minds about their grandmother and she will be able to give them the savings accounts and recordings that she has collected. It's hard because it's not the children's fault and they are suffering by being used as pawns in a game of family spite. This helps her cope and keeps hope alive for the future. She also feels that she is treating all her grandchildren the same, as much as possible, those she sees and those she doesn't see.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Setting up savings accounts for grandchildren is a great idea, Lucy.

    Thank you.


    MWM, I hope that isn't what is going to happen with difficult child son, but if it does, I still think that is better for him than to be trapped in that old place we all were.

    Starting those savings accounts will be a good thing. I always meant to do that. So much money was flying out of here for one difficult child or the other that we never had either the energy or the money to do that for the older grands.


    That is another cost of adult difficult children. There is so much thought and grief and cash devoted to the parents year after year after year that the grands come second.
  13. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Cedar, I realize that I am a bit behind after a couple of months being an absentee. Just read your posting & felt your pain through what you were saying. I don't have any advice. But it sounds like you have thought and thought and thought. And it sounds like you have done whatever you could in this situation. And that's all anyone can ask of us in any situation
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  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    True. I think maybe the parents here are the kinds of people who have been able to address and correct most things in their own lives. That our children (however old they are) still seem so troubled keys into that "can do" attitude every parent on this site seems to possess. Maybe, the intensity and focus we devote to our kids has more to do with how we view ourselves than it does with the things that happen with our difficult child kids? That could be part of our PTSD where the kids are concerned. It is the bad things that happen, but it could also be that the parents here are used to taking responsibility, and to keeping at it until we see things resolved, or give up on them altogether.

    We cannot give up altogether on our own children.

    But that seems to be what we have to do before they stand (or fall) on their own.

    But instead, because of something intrinsic to our makeups, we keep trying. And worse yet, we keep believing that this time, it will work.

    MWM has a thread going about toxicity in our families of origin. Recovering has a thread about what happens when we face toxicity in the relationships we have created with our children and let go.

    So, it really does seem to be about facing and loving and letting go. One of the male posters here posted about judgment ~ about not judging our difficult child kids for their choices or actions. So, he was saying that we need (I need) to get it that my kids have the right (and the personal responsibility) to take their lives wherever they want to without me judging them for it.

    It's alot to figure out.

    It's such a good, healing thing to have this site.

    I really do wonder whether it is our determination to see a thing done right that feeds into how we interact with our troubled kids.

    Do those of you following this thread feel you take responsibility as a matter of course? My husband is responsible only to a degree. He easily delegates responsibility, and it is easy for him to call a spade a spade. Even where the kids are concerned? He will get their finances in order and so on out of a sense of frustration and in the spirit of giving the difficult child a chance at a clean slate.

    And I really don't think he worries about it again.

    husband is like, "Hey. I did my part."

    That is a pretty good way to be.

    I call a spade: "It only looks like a spade. This is really a diamond in the rough. Here, let me polish it right up."

    So, because it happened where I could see it, it gets to be my responsibility.

    When it really was a crummy spade, all along.

    And polishing the heck out of it leaves me with lots of time, money, and effort wasted on a nice, shiny...spade.

    It requires a whole different kind of thinking, to let go.


    Tryagain? I like your quote: "Let go or be dragged."

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  15. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Ditto, ditto, ditto to everything you posted! You've got me nailed.
  16. TearyEyed

    TearyEyed Member


    I totally agree. I am overly responsible to the point of being obsessive. Mostly with difficult child but it definitely is flows into other areas of my life. You made an excellent point that most of us here probably have the tendency to go a little to the extreme side of what our part is in trying to keep on fixing things.
  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well, where would the world be if there were not people like us? (Actually, it just now occurred to me that it might be even a better world than it is, if we could let go of a thing and devote our incredible energies to those things we can change.)

    But we are talking about our own children, here.

    About how we, being uber-responsible types, would look at what is happening with our contributions to the world (through our children).

    You know, we have all posted about the guilt we feel over what our children are doing instead of having taken the educations, the advice, the knowledge of how to make it, of how to cherish and find joy ~ any of the good things we had to give them, in...er...SPADES.


    That was a joke. Referencing the post on polishing up a spade.


    We have all posted about that very thing. About that extra burden of shame we carry because of what our children are doing, instead.

    And it is shaming?

    But I think I am getting a little p****** off, actually.

    I think that is a part of getting healthier, too. It isn't just that we reclaim our right to be angry instead of defensive or outright cowed by it all. It's that we begin seeing our situations relative to the kids so differently. It was my responsibility to raise them well, true.

    But...where does their responsibility come in?

    And surely, stealing from your own mother, from your own father.... As one of us posted earlier, she had blamed the drugs.

    I always did, too.

    I don't know how to look at people I love and still love them in the faces of some of these true things.

    And I am so committed to loving them, to believing in them, no matter what.

    Hear that little sound? That little rasping sound? That is the sound of Cedar, polishing that particular spade for all she's worth.


    P.S. Witz responded on another thread about a coin collection that had been stolen. A little later, she posts about what it really meant to her, inside where the monetary value of a thing doesn't matter.

    It's heartbreaking.
  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting post Cedar. You know, I think that gets easier, at least it did for me, when I was able to see my daughter without my sense of responsibility for her, without my thinking I know better and that I have a right to judge her out of my own reference points. Then however she moves around the planet is not indicative of something I can change or heal or shift into something I want. It took me some real time to be able to see my daughter for who she really is, the positive and the negative and accept those without needing to do something about any of it. Somehow that broke a connection which allows the love and releases the rest of it as truth I can't do anything about.

    I think we really have to let go of them in so many different ways until they are separate human beings whom we can see standing before us without our own image being reflected back somehow. I have a feeling that in letting them go in that way we also release them and us, in some cases, from an unhealthy bond. It did for me anyway. I think that old adage, the truth will set you free, applies. It takes a long time to see the truth when it's our offspring, but once we do, I think that changes the whole playing field.
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  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Very hard to do this. Another indication of how differently we need to think, just to get through
    the days and the nights, with a difficult child child.

    Even if she is 40, and he turns 39 in a few days.

    Example: The value inherent in old family cookbooks, or old family Bibles. There is a sense of history in most families, a sense of "this is who we are, this is how we see it, how we respond". At this phase of life, I should be the living representative of those kinds of values. There should be a feeling of fruition, of tradition, of "we did good".

    Not that an adult child should rely on a mother or a grandfather for day to day advice...but there should be a sense of joy in who we are as a family; there should be a sense of moral touchstone for the values we raised our children with.

    Very hard to be reviled or manipulated, instead.

    I know I have to give that up, Recovering. You are right. It is part of judging, to want that.

    But I do. Just as I wanted to be a television perfect mom...I want to be Aunt Bea, now.

    Or...wait. I want to be someone cuter than Aunt Bea, but still wise.

    I am trying really hard to be aware of where I give advice and stop doing that.

    Again though, we are supposed to be older, wiser people than the younger generations. Our children and grandchildren are supposed to be able to come to us to talk about the good old days, and we are supposed to be proud of them and happy for them and for us.

    But again Recovering, for the situations we all find ourselves in, you are right. Giving advice turns out to be paying for whatever we have been fool enough to suggest, or into a child and all the grandchildren, too, moving home.

    It does at my house, anyway.

    I'm afraid we are going to have to shoot Aunt Bea.

    This is strengthening.

    Even for looking at family of origin stuff, this is strengthening.

    This is the secret to not judging.

    This is the envisionment for letting go.

    I put this in my quote book.

    I feel pretty guilty still, for not being Aunt Bea.

    Andy and Opie did live with her, you know.

    Some days it is very hard for me to know that I have said "no" to the moving home thing.

    Of course, Andy was a Sheriff. Not a drug addict.

    And now that I think about it...they were living with Aunt Bea to help her, not the other way around.


    Truth I can't do anything about.

    This is good, Recovering.

    Let go, stop judging, stop taking our value from that mother role, altogether. Eventually, getting real enough to stop taking our identities from any role, at all.

    We need (I do, anyway) to become aware of the Aunt Bea within. That is a beautiful role model, and that would be such a beautiful life to have...but it is not my life.

    And it never was.

    Still, it's a beautiful dream to hold.

    On rereading: As I went through the part about Andy being a Sheriff, not a drug addict, I got my position in life a little more clearly. I can still be Aunt Bea. (For those who have not read the threads on family of origin stuff, I have no acceptable role model in real life.)


    I can still be Aunt Bea, but I need to be who Aunt Bea would be if Andy were drug addicted.

    This reads as facetious. It is not. We are going through our lives as parents of addicted or mentally ill adults without a way to know how to hold our heads above water. When others discuss their doctorate-holding sons and daughters. When others discuss their grandchildren. When others have what they have, and we do not.

    We need positive imagery to counter what has happened to us, so we can figure out how to claim and cherish ourselves and our lives without being ashamed or disgusted or condemning or judging ourselves.

    It's a tall order.

    It certainly is a painful bond, Recovering. When I think about how my son is handling my changing the rules of interaction...you probably are right about the unhealthy nature of the bond.

    I could not see the lack of respect for my son in my excusing and accepting whatever he said, whatever he did.

    I think ~ I was going to say I think there is a time for that, when they are young. But I think there is never a time for encouraging our children to be less than honest with themselves about what they are doing and who they are becoming.

    I imagine how differently everything would look today if I had been stronger, had seen the truth sooner.

    And I realized none of it has anything to do with me. Addiction is addiction. I was a good mom. This is what addiction looks like.

    You are right, Recovering.

    Perhaps the television mom I need to model myself after is Roseanne.


    Until I let go of that whole mom role.

    Or, I would have to be Cher.

    Excellent points, Recovering.

    Thank you.

    I have a ways to go, until I can let go of the hurt of what is. I am giving myself credit for what I see, today; for where I am, today.

    And that is a good beginning.


    This is addiction.

    This is what it looks like.


    Regarding the accepting of excuses and the toxic nature of the bond formed with our addicted or mentally ill children because we don't know what the right thing to do is and so, choose polite in the face of obscenities: This is the same dynamic at work in teaching ourselves to accept what goes on in our dysfunctional families of origin. That tendency to define abnormal situations as normal.

    So that is where I learned to change everything up so I could be Aunt Bea. Or Donna Reed.

    I mean, it's a little bit funny, to understand that I did that, that I do that?

    What I have learned through this thread (thank you, Recovering) is that the question I need to ask, when there is a sadness around all of this, is not: "How can I learn to look at this without turning into someone who justifies hating her own children?", but "How can I learn to let go of what it is all supposed to look like without judging my children or myself?"

    I heard a an "addiction psychiatrist" being interviewed yesterday. Current theory is that addiction is genetic, and that the addict is addicted from the first dose of whatever it is.

    So it is what it is.

    This is what addiction (or a mental illness) looks like.

  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member