Can you forgive him forever?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Smithmom, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think that we can meld the two, but I would not use the word forgiveness. I see it as making very strong boundaries and keeping them and at the same time taking responsibility to understand that these parent-child relationships trigger old hurts and their resurrection brings forth the opportunity to heal. (And I am making the distinction between the parent child relationship and all other relationships.)The mothers here that only accepted phone calls once a week, or had no contact for a few months or even years were still in relationship with their child. But they were not governed by it. And they were not dashed to the rocks, by every word and deed of that child. Some reached a point where they felt peace and control. I see this as an inner state of mind that is independent of severing the relationship or not.
    Still, I think you may be ascribing intent that may not be there. The anecdotes you mentioned, the pee, and picking out the weaker kid--concern me. But still I am wondering if he really means to hurt you to the extent you hurt.
    Look. I worked in psychiatry in prison. There are psychologists and psychiatrists that give this diagnosis automatically. To everybody. Just because they arrived in prison. This is crazy.
    You have described a very close bond between the two of you. You know your son.

    The bottom line for me is that it is painful to be in contact, it is the logical thing to back off. Not to have any effect on him, but just because we don't touch hot stoves when we are smart. I would consider him a hot stove. Will he cool down? Hopefully. But that is not the case now.

    You have a choice to see the situation this way, devoid of all of the other baggage, from your mother, and that life dealt you. You can look at it, from a neutral position. And let him stew in his own juice.

    You set a boundary. He doesn't like it. He's lashing out. It is not good for you. You move yourself away from the hot stove. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  2. There are very specific symptoms which individuals must exhibit before a health care provider will diagnosis an individual as ASPD. It’s a permanently stigmatizing diagnosis that’s not assigned haphazardly. Read through the link I posted.

    My daughter is definitely ASPD, but to my knowledge, has a Conduct Disorder diagnosis which is usually a precursor to ASPD.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. To my understanding ASPD cannot be diagnosed before 18 and the conduct disorder diagnosis is a placeholder until ASPD can be diagnosed. But it is not a precursor, per se. The reason that conduct disorder is not diagnosed earlier is that disturbances of conduct in children and teens can occur for a variety of reasons, different diagnoses, etc. Only some of the children who receive that diagnosis will later develop ASPD. I am not sure the percentage but I do not think it is large.

    I worked in prison and the diagnosis was not that common there.
  5. It's more than just setting a boundary. Smithmom's son asked her to provide the name of a female whom he intends to harass or possibly emotionally or physically harm (have someone outside of prison hurt her). This makes Smithmom an accomplice. Because she won't willingly become his accomplice in a possible crime, he is alienating her middle son. These are coercive, manipulative, evil actions.
  6. I've been a licensed mental health professional for 35 years. Conduct Disorder is a precursor to ASPD because DSM criteria states that the patient must be over 18 for an ASPD diagnosis.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    No. She is not an accomplice because she has made a strong boundary which she is keeping. She has no intention of re-thinking it. What purpose does it serve to refer to smithmom as an accomplice?
    Yes. You are correct in part. That the ASPD diagnosis can't be given before 18. But the diagnosis is a "precursor" only in approximately one third of the teens/children so diagnosed.

    As a licensed mental health professional you know that you cannot diagnose somebody through hearsay who you have never met. We have heard a few anecdotal statements, relayed by a distraught mother who loves her son. We need on this forum to have compassion and a sense of responsibility for the people who come here for support and information. And if we are professionals we require restraint to temper the impact of the information and power we can wield. Because it can be dangerous, cause hurt and even be misleading or wrong.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  8. Oh no you don't. I did not diagnose or try to diagnose Smithmom's son. I only provided her with the DSM criteria.
  9. Stop distorting my words. If Smithmom had decided to assist her oldest son and he committed a crime, THEN she would be an accomplice.
  10. Taking sentences out of context to make someone into "persecutor" is a skill associated with Borderline (BPD).

    Here is my full statement:
    It's more than just setting a boundary. Smithmom's son asked her to provide the name of a female whom he intends to harass or possibly emotionally or physically harm (have someone outside of prison hurt her). This makes Smithmom an accomplice. Because she won't willingly become his accomplice in a possible crime, he is alienating her middle son. These are coercive, manipulative, evil actions.
  11. I confront Borderline (BPD) triangulation bullcrap.

    I am not a persecutor. I was not not uncompassionate or irresponsible. I was not unsupportive and unrestrained.

    I only provided Smithmom with a single link and no commentary.
  12. I apologize, Smithmom, for the hijacking of your thread. I wish you the best and hope you remain safe.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member dear friend.

    The DSM (and in no way am.I trying to say you are not good in your field....I would trust myself and my kids in your loving care for mental health) is not a way to verify any diagnosis. Its the best we have now but we need brain scans and blood tests before psychiatry can be in the category of say other medical field where a diagnosis. can be proven. DespairingMom, hear me out ;) You sound wise too.

    Who cares what exact diagnosis we get? One can only guess. If somebody is consistantly cruel to us and would harm us, steal from us, destroy our hearts and souls and even make us sick then that person with Diagnosis X is a real danger to us and until that person proves he can be better we have to decide if we want to risk our hearts, our money and our very souls to be in a relationship with an adult who is our child but can devestate us. We dont need, nor can we get, a definite diagnoses to know they hurt us. The DSM is not perfect, changes a lot, and we are left with our common sense and what our hearts can bear.

    We have two very smart mothers in the mental healthcare profession right here in this forum whose opinions vary. This is the reality of the inexact science of psychiatry. Ten mental healthcare workers who are good can come to ten differing opinions about one patient because nothing can be confirmed. I have been a patient in the mental health field since age 23. The inexact science of mental health has not changed much as far as still having no scientific way to diagnose anyone. I know I have a mood disorder because I can feel it, but I dont know why I have it and which one it is for sure. And as long as I do well, does it matter?

    No. We, the mothers, are like the patients. We see how our kids act. Diagnoses be damned. We know what they do, how long its been going on, what we can expect from interactions with them and what we can stand. That in my opinion is how we should make our decisions. Not by any diagnoses which may be right or wrong. Or a little bit of many things.

    If we have an adult child who wont follow society's rules, who hits us or steals from us or who just tries to hurt us on purpose and is very good at it, then we have to decide if we can deal with it. Or not. I wont diagnose them. I will call tjem Not Nice or even in some cases Mean to Cruel.

    We have a right to protect ourselves from mean hurtful people. Even our adult kids. We also have a right to decide to keep them in our lives even if it is soul killing. We are allowed to go down with them. It is our choice. Nobody else can tell us what to do. No decision is right or wrong.

    Our guts in my opinion send us good messages. How do we feel in their space? What tweaks us less? Continued contact because we love them? No contact because it is unbearable? A little of each?

    This is an awesome thread with much wisdom in it.

    Love and light,!
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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  14. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    My son has been diagnosed with many diagnoses and like SWOT has said, it is an inaccurate science. I think we as moms and dads have a feel for what diagnoses fits our sons and daughters. We are not pros but we know our kids we do our research and we listen to the pros and take what fits. Can we be wrong? yes absolutely but so can the pros. There are many similarities between mental illnesses and some symptoms fit more than one. I have seen with my son that he can control at times but when both alcohol or drugs and mental illness are involved it is a different scenario. Sometimes that is all the pros see. Also many of our sons and daughters are very adept at deception and manipulation even the pros can be fooled. I think that sometimes it is why long term treatment and observation are needed. Unfortunately insurance and the "System" have failed to allow that to happen for many of us.
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  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt!
    Many years ago I shared things with my son only to have him not keep my confidence and use what I had shared with him against me. As the saying goes, live and learn. When I do communicate with my son I share very little about my life.

    For me it came down to acceptance. Yes, I have forgiven my son over and over and over. What really helped me to move on was to accept that he is who he is and he chooses what he chooses. I do not like the way he lives his life, I do not like the choices he makes but I have come to accept that it is what is.
    I love him, I don't like him, I accept that he is not and probably never will be the kind of man I had hoped he would turn into.
    Acceptance has afforded me so much peace.
  16. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Copa I think that you are probably correct that he doesn't intend to hurt me to the depth that he is hurting me. Does a kid ever know how much he can hurt his parent?

    I'd like to eliminate the term evil because that has religious overtones to me. My son in prison has limited means of getting what he wants. There is no internet or even a phone book in prison. To correspond by email requires permissions. I gave my son the name and address of the adoption agency that handled his adoption. Closed adoptions are the only legal kind in that state. He said they wrote back to him and said that if he gave them a few hundred they would hire a private investigator to find her and ask her if she wanted contact. He has no money and won't get it from me. So frustration is a huge factor in his trying to force me. He has no one else outside who would be able to find the name. As far as I know he is not in contact with anyone else besides myself and my son. His ex girlfriend has moved on finally. My mother took his call once. His ex gfs mother might send him the odd $20 or book but that's it. And, just FYI his ex gfs mother who is an attorney testified on his behalf at his sentencing hearing. Despite both of them being heroin addicts, my kid did take good care of her daughter. He did support her when he clearly could have lived off of her, manipulated and used her in every way.

    I agree with Copa that sociopath is a knee jerk diagnosis when a crime is committed. Its the same, in my sadly vast experience of new therapists, when the child is adopted, it must be about being adopted. We have to waste weeks talking about adoption before we can talk about anything else. And when a placement never lasts long no wonder we never get anywhere in therapy!

    About DSM. I recognize that some people see this as definitive. I have a different view. It is actually a fluid consensus of current opinion. Opinions change. My son did and does fit much of the DSM definition of bipolar. But not all. He also has contamination phobia. But is not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He may or may not meet the DSM definition of anything today. That doesn't mean he won't in the next edition of DSM. So I learned years ago not to get caught up in DSM. It's useful for billing purposes. Not helpful for my son.

    Yes, long term observation is necessary for diagnosis. Doctors need to put a diagnosis on a piece of paper the first time they meet a patient. How can we believe that diagnosis? And how many times has an addict acted out so they get drugs? The hospital dr who called my kid a sociopath routinely had him sedated unconscious for 36 hours at a time. If I didn't schedule a visit I don't know that he would have been out of sedation much. But he was an addict. All he had to do was scream and push staff. This same place, if they were in isolation would give them a sandwich for a meal, if there was an extra one. If not, oh well part of your punishment. Maybe next meal.
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  17. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    This thread has given me much to think about, and I find that I am evolving my own understanding of forgiveness as we talk. I think that I have come to an understanding that true forgiveness can only come from a place of safety and strength. Smithmom, you were right to call me on whether I could have forgiven my abuser while I was still in it. And I DID forgive, many times - too many times. This kind of "forgiveness" in the face of ongoing abuse only serves to empower the abuser and allow the abuse to continue. The forgiveness that gives us peace can only come when we find strength and safety, in one way or another.

    Smithmom, I think you have come to a place of much better clarity. I hope whatever final decision you make brings you peace.

    Other thoughts. I don't find it helpful to worry too much about diagnoses with mine. They each have multiple diagnoses from different professionals over the years, and sometimes talking about those diagnoses can be a shortcut to understanding certain behavior patterns. But as SWOT says, it is an inexact science. No two people are the same, even with identical diagnoses. No two outcomes are the same. The DSM may say that there is no treatment for a certain diagnosis and very little hope of improvement. What good does that do me as a mother? I am worried about the behavior I see in front of me, not the diagnosis. And I don't think any diagnosis can definitively predict an outcome for an individual. You can talk in terms of percentages and statistics but what does that really say about my individual child, in the end? And what does it matter if my child's behaviors are given a name like ASPD or attributed to drugs, brain damage or plain old thoughtlessness? The behaviors hurt just the same. I don't find concepts like "evil" helpful, either. I don't think anyone is born "evil." Behaviors can certainly be evil. But I will never tell a mother her child is evil, or irredeemable.

    I do find myself troubled by some parts of this thread, and I feel I have to speak. I agree that we should not be trying to diagnose other people's children online here, no matter how clear the behavioral patterns seem to be. More to the point here, we should not be trying to diagnose each other. And where we see things differently, or if we think our words have been misinterpreted or misrepresented somehow, we need to be able to frame our disagreements respectfully and without undue escalation. It made me very sad to see accusations of "Borderline (BPD) triangulation bullcrap" on this forum. Surely if there are misunderstandings between us there are better ways to handle them? My apologies if I am further hijacking the thread, and I don't want to further escalate anything, but I found the way this exchange ended up very distressing and I felt I had to say something. I mean it with the utmost respect and care for everyone here. We are all coming to the table with our own perspectives, professional and otherwise. And we are all in pain, which can heighten the emotion in our exchanges here. Let's agree to all be kind to one another. We all have enough unkindness in our lives already. And others reading need to see us being kind to one another as well.
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  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Elsi, in my opinion you are the greatest addition to this forum in years. I agree with you too by the way. I have been guilty in the past of diagnosing but I was wrong. We cant even diagnose our own kids because NOBODY can. Not even the most esteemed psychiatrist is right maybe not even most of the time. Another esteemed psychiatrist can interpret the behavior way different. There is NO way to diagnose and PROVE ANY diagnosis. Remember not so long ago when autism was an incurable form of schizophrenia caused by "refrigerator moms?" That was maybe 50 years ago. My, my the DSM has changed 180 degrees regarding autism..

    I could site many more examples of this flawed and ever changing diagnostic book that, yes, is often used for insurance coverage. Personality Disorders are a relatively NEW add on. Are they real? Will they be there in the Mighty DSM in ten years or will they be gone, understood to be something else?

    It is theory. These symptoms equal this diagnosis this year, maybe not next year.

    We only know for sure how somebody is behaving at this time and whether we can be a part of it or not. Thats all the truly concrete evidence of behavior that we have. Or maybe need.

    I do believe some people have no empathy. I am fine not labeling such a person. I think some people have mood disorders. Since suddenly there are 6-10 types of bipolar in the DSM, I know my type can not be put into a box. In fact according to the faithful DSM I am classic Bipolar II and you should NEVER give sn antidrpressant to ANYONE with bipolar unless they are also on a mood stabilizer.

    Baloney. There are NO absolutes in psychiatry yet. I am on an antidepressant alone, no more bad mood swings for close to twenty five years. Hate mood stabilizers. Dont need them. But according to the DSM I am bipolar II.

    Psychiatry is hit or miss and patients are ginea pigs when it comes to medication and treatment.

    We need to see our loved ones, flaws and all, without diagnosing them or believing every diagnoses they are given. The diagnoses jades us or guilts us and we cant see straight.

    How about this regarding our kids? Who are they and how do they treat other people? That in my opinion is what matters and what we may be able to go by when we decide how to interact with beloved others, grown kids included.

    Jmo. Not saying I am right.
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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear SWOT: I agree with almost all that you are saying. Especially this:
    This, all of this, was my point. The last thing I am advocating is that we endorse diagnosing here, center upon them, or even as parents, to take them as real, without confirmation by other means and sources. We just don't know enough. And I believe this manner of understanding, is itself flawed.

    Our responsibility on this forum, collectively, is to understand, to survive and to grow from the trauma we are experiencing, via our children, and to support each other to do the same.

    If we diagnose each others children (let alone each other) it can lead to confusion or pain. These parents are already suffering in the cauldron of conflicting diagnoses dispensed by professionals who either take themselves too seriously or do not take their work seriously enough, by diagnosing capriciously and thoughtlessly.

    Of course the professionals are forced into this by the way the profession is currently structured and understood and compensated. But as you say, it is dangerous. And as you say we do not have to fall into the same cauldron of stew.
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  20. As I am the member whose posts are being inaccurately described here, I'm going to participate in this discussion.

    1. I did not diagnose Smithmom's child. I posted a link to the DSM criteria for Smithmom to read. I made ZERO comment about that link. ZERO. Go back and read my post and stop distorting it saying that I diagnosed her child. If I provide you a link to a recipe, does that mean that I diagnosed you as a terrible cook? No, that's a communication distortion.

    2. I did not diagnose Copa. Copa intentionally took my sentence out of context to make me into a persecutor. Then she began to triangulate which made me the persecutor and herself into the rescuer of Smithmom. I identified these actions as Borderline (BPD) behaviors because they were. Don't believe me? Google communication distortions, triangulation, and Borderline (BPD).

    3. I did not tell Smithmom her child was evil. Here is my exact post, so this distortion can also end.
    It's more than just setting a boundary. Smithmom's son asked her to provide the name of a female whom he intends to harass or possibly emotionally or physically harm (have someone outside of prison hurt her). This makes Smithmom an accomplice. Because she won't willingly become his accomplice in a possible crime, he is alienating her middle son. These are coercive, manipulative, evil actions.