Am I steering my own, true course or heading for the rocks?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Hi Copa . i can feel the pain and the panic in your posts. I think your own line about his indifference says it all. You are the one who is worried not him. I don't know if he is consciously using this to manipulate or punish you or he is showing signs of depression which leads to his indifference. I believe you are going to reach a point soon where your health is effected and that wont help him or you. Are you taking care of YOUR health? I admire the way you fight for your son and wish i knew of a program that would help. Ultimately he needs to be a part of the solution. You will be of help to no one if your health fails. I know what you mean about keeping a place clean my son does the same which while i am not the worlds best housekeeper the level he accepts drives me nuts.
     
  2. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Copa and tried.
    I've been pondering detaching lately. From both of my older ones. For me that means letting go of not only my hopes and dreams for them but the dreams for the sons I wanted for me. That is, the loving sons who came around when I really needed them. Not just when they need me. This includes accepting them for who they are. My second won't lift a finger to anything but his waiter job. Ok he has serious neurological issues but he won't sweep or mop a floor. And he can do that. Left alone he would throw his trash, laundry and everything on the floor. And never pick it up. I accept that I cannot change this. I tried. He's 27. Time to accept. Problem is I always figured that I'd buy a condo for him and leave it to him as the permanent housing he can't find for himself. Reality I now accept is that he will destroy it. Or just let it rot away.

    I accept that he will never be responsible. He will drive landlords crazy and probably end up in a slum. A slum lord is his only option. So I must accept that I never want him to live with my disabled son, or even on the same property. The only thing I can do is provide him with some cash annuity. Won't be much, won't provide the space or comfort the condo would have.

    But accepting them as they are is detaching. Accepting that we don't want their lifestyle next door is detaching. I've made it clear that I won't go into their space if it involves smoking and I think I will add if it makes me uncomfortable for other reasons. They can visit me or meet on neutral ground. This is accepting. It's ok.
     
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  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    There is a long distance canoe race full of challenges and all sorts of ocean conditions that tests the hearts of the most seasoned paddlers and steersman. It is one of my favorites. An hour into the start, weaving through shallow waters around exposed reefs, the sea opens up and there is a point where one is faced with a decision whether to head further out into the deep blue and maintain that line, hoping to overcome the unpredictability of the open ocean, or go towards the cliffs, where waves are pounding and churning upon the rocks. To an untrained eye, it would seem to be a dangerous move. Yet, in reality, there is a buffer zone between the perilous crag, the ever churning whitewater rising up to beat upon the rocks, then dragging back to whence it came. It is the “in between”, a vortex of calm amidst the chaotic conditions of the deep blue and the foamy boiling swath covering and then revealing jagged, barnacled, ancient lava.
    A confident steersman and faith inspired crew can maneuver this buffer zone and use it to propel the canoe onward, catching the currents that move sideways along the cliffs. The key, is trust in one another, keep the canoe balanced and ever driving forward, replacing fear of the unknown with strength and determination.
    Copa, your title reminded me of this race, this section of waves pounding on the cliff side, steering a course and at the same time, heading for the rocks and the in between. I have often thought of my years spent on the ocean and how much the canoe experience becomes a reflection of life’s circumstances. This journey we have with our wayward adult children is similar to a long distance race, periods of calm waters and times where the sea of their troubles seems unending and unnavigable, which feels like we are being pushed and shoved mercilessly into the rocks. How many sink or survive moments can one take? How long can we live our lives in despair over theirs? Time after time, we swallow those gut wrenching feelings and paddle onward, somehow avoiding being dashed upon the rocks.
    The difference is, I choose to test determination and training by entering a canoe race, I did not choose for my two to become lost in a quagmire of drugs and homelessness. Yet here I am, thrust onto a course I didn’t sign up for, nor imagined would be their choice as I raised them. The only way I see through this, is to try to remain steady state and focused on how I live my own life. When that ache of fear rises up about what they are doing, what their outcome may be, I pray. Hard. It is the same as this buffer zone I write of, creating a space of sanity and calm, despite the swirling circumstances of my twos choices and consequences. As you write here, I see you working through this and recognizing your right to live peaceably in your space.
    You matter.
    You are the captain of your vessel, just as your son is, of his, just as my two are, of theirs.
    No matter what you decide on your next steps, it is about keeping your canoe upright and moving forward as you continue this journey. Keeping balanced and focused, moving forward despite the waves of chaos crashing all around us with our beloveds. That is our challenge in the harsh reality of our unique situations. How do we deal with the decisions and choices our adult kids make, and survive the utter insanity of it?
    I have been contemplating this in my hiatus from posting, trying to grow and morph from feeling lost and devastated at times, to focusing on what the short rest of my life might look like.
    I have absolutely no control over what my two decide. That has been made crystal clear through many trials and errors, trying to help them navigate their lives. At least that’s what we thought we were doing. Helping. I couldn’t make them do anything, just as I cannot command the ocean.
    They are out there somewhere, I haven’t heard from Rain for a few months, and I learned recently that Tornado is back in jail. There is this dull ache for them. Like arthritis flaring.
    It is a feeling at times similar to that race, when one hits the proverbial wall, and there is no way out, but to keep paddling and get through it. Because to stop moving forward, we are left at the mercy of the waves.
    I have read through your posts and am amazed at your resilience and strength as you figure out your next steps. This is hard stuff.
    I see you paddling through it. Head for the buffer zone dear friend. Find your peace, meditate, post read. Examine what has happened in the past and what is occurring now. I don’t know with these adult kids of ours, their timing is impeccable, texting, not texting, it is as if a game, to keep us on edge and guessing. Or is it just them, being them? How can J be so likeable to neighbors, yet so cruel and manipulative with you and M?
    I was thinking about this, and no contact with my two (their choice) and realized that if I don’t matter to myself, how can I expect anyone else to believe I do? Maybe that is part of the psychology of all of this insanity with our waywards, that when they are near and start to step over boundaries, subtle then blatant, it erodes our selves within us, and in their eyes. At least I think that’s what happened with my two. I became nothing more than a commodity, a thing, to them.
    That is unacceptable.
    So I think that as you are reaching out to J, making small steps could be key, to which you have mentioned “starting a conversation.” There is a saying, from the Bible “He who is faithful in the least, is faithful in much.” I would gauge his response, or lack of, as signs of his willingness to follow through. To at least meet you half way? To at least afford you the respect you deserve.
    I am sorry for all you have gone through and are going through, it is the toughest thing to overcome.
    I see you bravely steering onward. Deep breaths dear sister, you will figure this out.
    Leafy
     
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  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much New Leaf.
    How beautiful this is.
    So the analogy here would be trust in oneself. Trust that one can know their course, (not through some map or guideposts or compass points or radio) but by some intrinsic connection and capacity to evaluate and integrate the information that they receive while riding the waves: the weather, the surf, their own fatigue and their will to go forward, their endurance, their confidence, receptivity to divine guidance, and connection to the greater will.
    I was listening to public radio the other day; a short lecture by a man named Alan Watts who was an eastern-oriented spiritual teacher here in CA starting in 1959 into maybe the 1970's. Few people (I mean non-Asian people) had heard about Taoism or Buddhism. And he did more than anybody to introduce us to those concepts and way of life. So to my point, this early tape was about TAO, or (dao) the idea that our work is a spiritual teacher, a spiritual path, and that we can be formed, shaped, honed by our work...if it is not stripped of its meaning to some meaningless thing, like an assembly line or into a time clock, kind of like another way of "doing time" what prison attempts to do to the incarcerated. Not only strip them of their individuality but deprive them of experience that is individualizing. That shapes and works them...their becoming. Which is really what you say.
    In my situation I chose to adopt a child who had already suffered. Part of the deal was the commitment up front to steer the course, acknowledged or not.
    Thank you, New Leaf.
    That is the $64,000 question. Who is the real J? The likeable and trustworthy and helpful J is who I raised. But the question is, could he only be this as dependent upon my own personality structure with my direct support? Can he maintain the façade, the persona up to a point, but does he lack the personal strength and personality integration to muster this when the going gets tough? I am speaking character here. And do M and I catch the :censored2: because we are real and deep to him, so we get the real stuff of him?

    J can be loving and responsive to me. I believe he loves me. I believe he needs me. Is it that he cannot grow up or he won't?

    But if I face reality based upon 10 years or more, J has not done one thing to dig in and really face life. By that I refer to the metaphor of the mountain climber that throws what is it, the ice axe? That he or she throws up and out to get a foothold so they can hoist themselves up or out. I have not seen my son dig in. He is a tumbleweed. He shows it in relation to us. We dig in and he becomes resentful and/or manipulative. He does not dig down to real.

    Thank you New Leaf.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    New leaf as always you are eloquent. Your post was very meaningful. I also liked copas analogy to the mountain climber. Also meaningful. Thank you both.
     
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  6. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Hi Copa

    Sorry I have been MIS for so long. I am just catching up.

    It would be so tempting to be pias and play the pontiff here; and I know that would be me gong into th defence mode to protect you and your heart from more pain and disappointments.

    I read the most beautiful post on another site some time ago from a mother of a young homeless drug addicted daughter. She somehow got to the point that she accepted that she could not help her daughter nor enable her. And yet could not simply extricate her from her life.

    She took weeks to find her daughter and she was living in a tent city in untold conditions. She embraced her daughter and invited her for a meal. They ate and she provided some needed provisions to her daughter, they embraced and she left. She referred to this engagement as learning to love her daughter here she was at. Having hope with no expectations and embracing what she could and letting go of what she could not control. This still makes me very weepy when I think of this. It makes me so emotional because I think this is the strongest thing a parent could ever do.

    It helped me to engage with E towards the end of his active use with more calm in my heats and less pain that I had endured before. It is finding a way to ground oneself in the painful unknown that we can not control. In Naranon terms it is what it is.

    How we get from hell to here is the hard part. If you asked me how I got there myself I am not sure I could answer. I do send you strength and hope you do find so peace and calm.

    Let us know how your meeting turns out.
     
  7. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Hi Copa- My therapist said something to me about all the things I have tried, suggested with my son. She said, has anything you suggested or done worked out? I said no. She said when he is ready to change his life he will. He will find resources on his own. I doubted this until recently when he put himself in rehab far from where he was living. He found this place on his own. He did about 3 weeks and left. But the point is he made his own decision, did his own research and got himself there. It is a small win, but it is something. My son was homeless for many years but he got tired and found a place to live, rents a room and has a payee.

    I realize your son has medication issue that is about life or death and that wears on your heart. But he is the only one that can commit to taking his medications daily. Like drug addicts, every day they have to decide am I going to use or not; am I going to take Methadone or not. Alcoholics everyday am I going to drink or not. In the end, it is on their shoulders as much as we would like to be their constant watchman, we can't be.

    I hope you can find a nurse or a clinic that could help him. I think homeless people self medicate by hanging around people like themselves- they are there because they are accepted for who they are and what they choose to do or not do. A street preacher told me homelessness sometimes is an addiction. He was homeless at one point in his life and he helped to understand why some folks like being homeless. That helped me understand my son better.

    I think your son wants a place to live but only if he is free to live however he wants. Is that something you can do? Tough choice. Is it easier for that choice or to let him live homeless? Either way, he wants his freedom to live the way he wants, whether it's healthy for him or not. Hoping you can find a nurse or clinic he is willing to go to for his daily medication.
     
  8. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    We do have responsibilities as parents but that includes "taking care of ourselves and setting healthy boundaries". Our adult children have responsibilities as well.

    What does parenting look like to you and J?
     
  9. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I too stay connected but stopped letting his life consume mine. He is schizo and paranoid and learning disabled. I learn to cut him some slack due to his learning disable but I will not see him as a total victim. He is street smart and has made some good decisions on his own so I know he is capable of thinking correctly at times. He calls in a mania and I just let him vent and talk it out. I tell him I have to go and that I love him. I feel good- he gets to vent, I don't discount his thoughts or his choices. The other day he called and wanted me to take him to court and be his guardian. I am ready to go into a group home Mom. I listened. I responded, well that is a thought. Then I changed the subject. I have been here before and I know this is a moment in his time when he feels he wants and needs this. In a week or so he won't even remember he mentioned this. I have learned to just give it time as he swings back and forth in what he is willing to do or change. I have learned that listening and not doing works for me and him. I have learned not to react when he calls with drama about people he doesn't get along with as I know next week they will be friends again. He use to call all the time I want to go to rehab. Ok, I tell him that sounds great I know you will find a way to get there and get into a program. He finally did it. On his own. Maybe just listen for a time, offer nothing for a time.
     
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think our only helpful responsibilities are to listen and love. There isnt anything else we can do.
     
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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    A video just showed up on my cellphone. It was sent by my son's friend who is a licensed contractor. The video captures my son wheeling a wheel barrel filled with dirt 20 yards or so at a swimming pool construction site, and doing so quite quickly and with focus. I was very grateful to see this.

    Understand that it is the 19th of the month. Money must be short.

    But still, HE IS WORKING. HE IS HEALTHY ENOUGH TO WORK. I tried to post the video but it is missing something to post here.

    I am happy.
     
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  12. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I'm happy for you that you got some comfort in knowing he is healthy and working. These glimpses are small wins, even if for a day, a moment, that keep us parents going.
     
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  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    That just shows you he WILL work on his terms when he has to. That shows you he CAN take care of himself when he needs or wants to and that should make your heart sing. He is not conventional but he is capable!!!
     
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  14. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Wow that is a win!
     
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  15. CareTooMuch

    CareTooMuch Active Member

    Awesome! Got to take every bit you can as a positive at this point.
     
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    SWOT. I tried to post the video here but it wouldn't work. I enlarged it on the computer and I saw that he was NOT WEARING HIS HOODY. He had on some kind of scarf around his head and a hat which looked ever so much more appropriate. After all he is doing hard labor outdoors. He has worked before doing concrete labor but not for a long while.
    I am taking this as a BIG WIN. Because he could have just as easily taken the other way...lost ground. There is work in this field. It is getting rainy and cold now and there will be less work but there is no reason he could not make a living at this, if he wanted, and afford to share an apartment with other people. There is reason for hope. I think the worst thing that could happen is that he come back here. It would be regressive.
    Thank you very much CareTooMuch. I was shocked to see the video. I texted last Thursday about Thanksgiving and he never responded. I was having a hard time. I feel better. Thank you.
     
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  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Maybe he has been doing this to make money all along. I assume this is under the table pay so you wouldnt know and he can still collect social security, which you said he doesnt want to lose. Lots of jobs like this one pay cash. This could work well for him. I wonder if he has done this before and maybe doesnt want a conventional job so that he can keep getting SSI. Maybe he would rather you not pressure him to get a traceable paycheck? A lot of people make money under the table. Maybe he has not been lazy on the streets.

    The adult kids who bring us here are very different thinkers. Who knows???
     
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  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    He has done this before over the past 3 years or so, but only when he wants to. He actually likes the work. He likes the mindlessness of the heavy labor, and I guess he likes being strong. The industry is dominated by a specific ethnic group and he knows the language and culture because we lived there in that country. He is known and accepted by that community. That is a blessing.

    I think you may be exactly right about his motivations. Thank you SWOT.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    SWOT. I know he has been hanging out at the Kentucky Fried Chicken with the homeless people. He told me he was.

    But the thing is, this has to be working. Because he knows now that there is no way back here that does not involve change on his part. There is no get out of jail free card.

    But I have to have a little bit of hope. That he is choosing to face his life, at least a little bit. Thank you SWOT.
     
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I wish he would find a fiancée like lil's son.