Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jodiehooks, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    I am recently realizing just how true a lot of the posting to me have been on the subject of not wasting what time I have left on earth trying to re-raise or fix my children. That is painful to let go of and painful to think of what will happen to them after I am gone, but when you think of it, there is nothing I can do about it. I will eventually die (before them I hope and pray), and they will have to go on. I know this is a fact but I guess I am at the point of a light bulb going off telling me that this is not something that is a theory, but real and every day getting closer (no not today lol). I am telling both of my grown children what I will and won't do and that they need to make preparations for what life they want to have and not depend upon me or others to pick them up. Not saying I won't give compassionate love and help at times but that is different from providing emergency relief for stupid life decisions. Thanks for listening.
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  2. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Jodie. I appreciate your thoughts on this all.
    This is the crux of it isn't it? When I think back over the last ten years-this is what we've done over and over until the last year or so. Finally realizing that it is so out of our hands, we stopped. We didn't stop loving, still have a shred of hope but going on with what is left of our lives. We are trying to learn not to beat ourselves up over these wasted years, they weren't really wasted if we learned this hard lesson. Stay strong. YOU CAN DO THIS. Prayers.
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  3. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Thank you so much!!
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, good job on your realizations, I know how hard it is to get to that acceptance you speak of.

    That 'light bulb' seems to be dim for quite awhile, until we begin to walk out of the FOG of enabling and see the clarity underneath our love, fear, sorrow and deep concern for our adult kids. It seems to take some time for us to see the truth in what the serenity prayer says so succinctly......."accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." That "wisdom to know the difference" took me years to work out because I just couldn't accept what was, I thought I could power through and control and fix and rescue and save.......once I began recognizing my own fierce powerlessness, I was on my way to that acceptance. No easy feat.

    Your kids and my daughter are in their 40's now, the time of parenting is over, it is their lives to do with as they choose and it is our duty to ourselves to live life to the fullest not tethered to the behaviors and usually poor choices of our adult children. I'm glad you've come to these realizations, keep us posted on how your life changes as a result. :)
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  5. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    You are so right. It has occured to me that the obstacle to my acceptance has been to avoid the pain of letting go and seeing them suffer, MY PAIN that I avoid to protect myself. Don't get me wrong, I want the best for them, but I believe I have been avoiding the pain inside myself, taking the easy path which has been to fix, pay for, put up with or any thing other than feel the pain of seeing them suffer. Strange isn't it?
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  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Not so strange Jodie, that was my motivation too and I had a therapist call me on that (which was one of those times you want to literally run from the room screaming!)

    The therapist told me that often a codependent (me) will do whatever it takes so WE don't have to go through the intense pain of letting go.....that I was giving and giving so as not to feel my own pain, so as not to feel the utter powerlessness and lack of control, to face my fear of what would happen to my daughter if I actually really let go. It was an interesting (and not easy) dramatic shift in my internal focus, it helped me to see that I had the power to change my response if I were willing to go through that pain and accept that enabling my daughter was about ME, not her and if that is true, I now had the power to change. And, frankly, it was so dang painful trying to hold on that letting go seemed like a better choice! That's also when the therapist explained the FOG to me, which he said was the place I went when I couldn't choose......a stuck place where I couldn't rescue anymore but I also couldn't move ahead and let go......stuck in the middle, in the FOG, which can last for quite some time.

    Seems to me Jodie, that you have learned a lot and are now ready to let go and accept.....which changes everything. Celebrate your something for YOU.
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am on that journey of detaching. Not quite there yet...but Difficult Child is making it easier to get to the end of journey... Not by doing exceptionally, by not having a clue and being rude.

    In two weeks her car ins comes due. She thinks she can find a cheaper policy... I texted her and said if she wanted my help "we" could go talk to her ins agent, or contact different agencies for price quotes. She responded "if you want to, you can do that". I replied that I didn't really want to do that, but I was willing to help her do that. She replied "Fine. I will just do it all myself". I said, ok, I am sure you can handle it. And let it drop.

    She has been saying she us hunting for a job, on her way to apply, and hasn't done it at all. Na da

  8. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    hi jodie, i too am taking baby steps to detach . My sons rude, obnoxious, self entitled attitude is helping me along . I repeat the serenity prayer to myself many times a day! It does help me to do that because it puts it in perspective. can't help those who can't help themselves. I also look at enabling and helping very differently. If I'm doing something they can do themselves...its enabling period!!
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jetsam, one thing that helped me with that distinction between enabling and helping is "when you are enabling, it feels bad, you feel resentment, anger, sorrow, etc.......and when you are giving from loving kindness, you feel good." That helped me so much to begin determining where I was.......(and for quite some time, it felt bad). But that definition, although simplistic, really helped me.
  10. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    I guess I have been codependent for so long that I have difficulty with that. I loved doing things for my son even when i finally took a look at what i was doing it was hard to feel bad about it! I had always been the doer! for my husband, son daughter...I guess the resentment started creeping in when i would see appreciation from my husband and daughter but not my son. I am guilty of doing for all of them. But at a naranon meeting one night they described it as enabling was doing for someone what they could do for themselves. Now my husband and daughter can do for themselves ,but they appreciate what i do and will also express that. Like," mom you don't have to do that, I can do it myself." In any regard I started taking a harder look at my behavior and saw how terribly I enabled my son and since he has a drug abuse problem how terribly detrimental it is for him especially! I have since tried to put that behavior more in check. Im not a pro at it yet, but my husband and daughter both see the change and have made positive comments about it. so i continue on my journey, doing my little cha-cha dance with myself lol. But I do feel better about my behavior as a whole. I will continue to do this, because in the end i know how necessary it is if my son is ever going to stop being a man child and stand on his own 2 feet.
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  11. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    May they find their own feet and step off of ours!
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  12. JaneBetty

    JaneBetty Active Member

    Hilarious, Mof, I was all ready for something along the lines of the Irish Blessing, then, Boom! you end with, "and step off of ours!" Very funny! :tongue:
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  13. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    I guess we treat everyone equally but don't get it in return. There's the twist.

    MOF - loved your quote!
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It is such an amazing feeling when we decide to stop the gravy train. We start to gain back our self worth and that help us to take our lives back. It's a new "normal" that can take some time to adjust to as we start thinking about our own needs first. One day at a time. One small thing at a time.
    Well done Jodi on taking your life back!
  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Jodie, this is a great realization, once we get to this point. It is pivotal, and once you "see" things in this brand new way, you don't go back to seeing them the old way.

    This is exactly 100 percent correct. Once we see that we did all of these things---out of love, with good intentions, with lots of hope, sure---but we did them because WE couldn't stand it, not doing them...we begin to see that we are an obstacle to them.

    I remember that day very clearly. Suddenly, I saw the very same situation from a completely different perspective. It was like I had been looking at it with a southward view and suddenly I was on the north end of it, and it looked completely different.

    And then I saw that my "help" was not helping, and in fact, it was hurting.

    But then the work learn how to let learn how to say what I mean without being mean...lots of practice, lots of mistakes...what does this kind of love look like, sound like, feel like? It isn't comfortable, even when our own minds know this is what we MUST do in order to give our own selves a chance to live, and to give them a chance to live.

    I called it the 51% and the 49%. I was 51%, for the first time ever, and he was 49% for the first time ever. He was still so important to me, but I was just a little bit more important, from then on out. I counted. I mattered too. And it was so much healthier for him , for me to matter more to myself.

    That meant I could start to get out of his way so he could start to figure out his own life, without the involvement and interference of his Mother. Please know that for a long time, things with him got worse. But I was getting better, and stronger, and better able to let go of him and Let my Higher Power/God take over.

    Today, my Difficult Child is working full time as an electrician. He has his own place to live. He is responsible for his own life, and he continues to make good progress every day, every month, every year. He just got health insurance at his full time job, so that last help I was giving him, is now over. He is sweet and kind. He isn't getting in trouble anymore. He is going to be off probation in less than a year. He is paying his fines. He hasn't been arrested in 2.5 years (almost). We see him for NFL football games, family outings, holidays and birthdays. He calls and texts me like a normal adult child does. It is a pleasure to be around him.

    For nearly six years his choices made everyone's life, who loved him, a complete h___.

    I do believe stopping my help, and his dad finally stopping his help, allowed our son to face himself for the first time ever in his life, and start to rebuild his life.

    Warm hugs. Hang in there. We're here for you.

    Things are 100
  16. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Well, in addition to my having a light bulb go off in my head about letting go of my children, it has occurred to me as many of you may already know, that I have neglected my own life. Now I feel out of touch with what I need to do with my self. I have decisions to make regarding where I live, choices of selling my home and moving, making a new life that in all intents and purposes will hopefully be my last major move unless I end up in a nursing home. Have I been engaging in enabling in an unconscious attempt to avoid my own problems?
  17. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Nope, cause your on board now..never too late!
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  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Maybe so, Jodi.

    Or maybe you were so exhausted from your adult kid's drama that you didn't have time for yourself.

    Either way, it's time to focus on yourself now.

    If you want, tell us some of your ideas about what you might want to do with the rest of your could be fun!

    We only have so much time in this world, Jodi. Make the most of it!

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, I'm happy to hear you're moving ahead with your own life. I felt similarly when I stopped enabling my daughter, taking the focus off of them and putting it on us is a positive, healthy choice and, at least for me, I had to relearn or perhaps, learn, how to take care of ME.

    There's a joke in the codependent world........"when a codependent passes away, they see someone else's life flashing before their eyes."

    I learned that rescuing another can indeed mean that we are avoiding not only our own problems, but the entirety of our own lives.

    There's a whole world out there waiting for you to show up Jodie.......go for it!
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  20. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Good posts!! So, in response to the challenge to share ideas of what I would like to do with the rest of my life: I still hope to have some family connection although most of it has been removed due to the drama in my children's life. Here's where I go wrong on this one: I imagine having a get together either for Christmas or some other reason and in the past have provided big elaborate meals, that cost a lot of money and time only to have them either show up late or sometimes not at all, and then eat and rush out to do whatever they want leaving me dishes and a bad attitude. So, I am hoping to at least keep in contact with both children no matter where they are or how they live.

    Then, I would like to take some trips, not big but just around the country side seeing friends for brief visits once in a while. Also, I hope to get my house sold and move in with my long time boyfriend, which would be good because we enjoy similar life styles. I can then cook more which I love to do, and also enjoy living out side a city, which I now live in. I love my house but over time have stopped liking the neighborhood I live in.

    I would like to volunteer for some worthy organization or cause. I also have interests in politics but not to run for office (what a mess!!). But as a social concern to help changes happen that need to get done.

    Them, I would like time to do more reading, gardening and practice on my guitar without getting horrible calls that either a child died, is in jail or homeless or caused a meth fire. That is very distracting and it takes so much of your focus off reading and playing music that you cannot even do it well.

    But I have a long way to go before I can see myself in that picture, I am working on it slowly, painting the inside of the house, fixing things and also putting people on alert that I plan to change my life. I am open to suggestions that will help me get to the point where I can walk away from my current life and begin to live in the life I rather would be in. I feel in some ways that I am walking away from all I have ever known and it feels like grieving.
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