Feeling sad and discouraged

Beta

Well-Known Member
I'm posting because I feel sad and discouraged today with where we are with our son, Josh. He's been at our home now for two months and says he is not moving with us once we move, and is, in fact, planning on leaving at the end of May; he knows not where.

I feel sad and heartbroken because it is apparent through his behavior and some of the things he says that there is little to no love on his part toward us. It seems as though we are merely a means to an end. Although occasionally he has been "nice" and has interacted with us, the majority of the time he is withdrawn, sullen, and resentful toward us. He can become verbally profane and loud very easily so we have to watch we say.

When he was still in Denver, I thought if we could just get him here, it would give us an opportunity to show care and kindness toward him, and it would change his perspective of us, but that doesn't seem to have happened. It's not like I was expecting a complete transformation of our relationship, but there is nothing there. And now he says he will be leaving in a month, and I feel like the only opportunity we had to try to reach him and repair some of the anger and hurt from the last two years is slipping away.

As I sit here thinking about it, I think about trying to talk to him and tell him how hurtful it is that he treats us this way and implore him to please care about our relationship as his family, but I am pretty sure it would be a disaster because two weeks ago I tried to do something just like that. I went into his room, sat down, and tried to tell him how concerned I was that he was isolating himself from us so much and that I wished he would spend time with us. All it did was to make him mad and to trigger the same tired litany of angry, accusatory statements he's been making for the last two years: "You and Dad have moved all my life and you're still doing the same sh*t; you two never change; you never do anything to help me be happy and have a good life; you've never cared about me; all you care about is yourselves...." etc. etc. All I managed to do was to make us both angry.

So I'm wondering just what to do. I want him to know that it matters to us that we have a relationship with us and that his indifference to us is hurtful, but I don't know how to communicate it in a way that won't trigger him. I don't want to squander this time we have with him; I want to know that I did everything I could to change things, because frankly, once he leaves (if he does leave as he plans), I really don't know if we will ever see him again. I have to be frank and say that although I may love him, I do not like him as a person at all. He is not a good person. In fact, I'm ashamed of who he is as far as his character. And then I have to ask myself--if that's true, why in the world do I want to have him in our lives? I can't answer that. I don't know why.

Tuesday night he and I had some conflict over some food items (He has been eating us out of house and home), and he made me so angry, I'm ashamed to say that looked at him and said, "You are a pathetic person." I had to apologize to him later. Yesterday morning, I wrote him a note and left it, telling him that we care for him and we don't want to have anger and bitterness between us. He, of course, did not mention it or respond to it. He was just as withdrawn when I got home.


I feel defeated. When you've done your very best for someone, and it's still not enough, it just leaves you feeling so worthless and such a failure.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Beta,

I'm so sorry that you feel sad and discouraged. My heart goes out to you. The problem is that our adult children need more than a month or two to change and more importantly they have to see that they do need to change. We as parents want to tie up lose ends and button everything up nicely in a neat package so that "we" feel better. Well, I've learned the only way I'm going to feel better is to accept what is for the time being. It's not pretty, it's not what we wanted, it's not even close to what we wanted but it is what it is.

I say this to myself as well but it's our own fault to some degree when we put timelines on how and when things need to happen. Life's timetable just doesn't work like that. It may take years before your son sees what's really important in life and if in fact he doesn't move with you and your husband and does leave at the end of May, maybe just maybe this is the journey he needs to arrive at the place where one day you "will" have a healthy relationship. I think you know deep down you can't force the change in him. You just want it so bad, like we all do, that you thought this time together was your opportunity to make it all better. But the way I see it is it's a two way street and until Josh is ready to travel that road with you, you are walking it alone.

Please don't give up and say you will never see him again. Don't punish yourself with that kind of self-talk. I think I recall you saying that previously and look what happened? You did see him again. I say this only because many times with both of my sons, my heart ached and I didn't know where they were and thought that I'd never see them again. This has happened repeatedly and I did see them again after long periods of time. So don't give up.

This is an excerpt from our Al anon "Courage to Change" "When I'm anxious about other people, I need my Higher Power's help. Fighting fear with fear often strengthens its hold over me, but turning my loved ones over to God can free us all."

I believe this is not the end but maybe one of many beginnings in the long journey it's going to take Josh to "arrive".
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I had the talk with Kay at least ten times through the years. The last time I told her in a gentle way how much we loved her and that it hurt us when she didn't show anything back, she exploded that we are trying to make her feel guilty and that it is what we always do. Then she cussed.

You may be sorry if you try to talk to him about your feelings right now. I decided that if they cared how we felt, they would be nicer, like other young adults. Why get hurt?

I will not get Kay back. I love her but she behaves in ways that we can't accept, and won't accept. We aren't sure where she is right now. We may never be sure. I don't think a close relationship with her is in the cards. Maybe you will have a close relationship with Josh one day though. Keep praying.

Love and hugs.
 

FluffyOne

New Member
"I feel defeated. When you've done your very best for someone, and it's still not enough, it just leaves you feeling so worthless and such a failure."

I totally get this. I tried to leave no stone unturned when it came to helping my daughter, for the past 11+ years. But I realize now, like JP said, turning our loved ones over to God can free us.
 

newstart

Well-Known Member
I'm posting because I feel sad and discouraged today with where we are with our son, Josh. He's been at our home now for two months and says he is not moving with us once we move, and is, in fact, planning on leaving at the end of May; he knows not where.

I feel sad and heartbroken because it is apparent through his behavior and some of the things he says that there is little to no love on his part toward us. It seems as though we are merely a means to an end. Although occasionally he has been "nice" and has interacted with us, the majority of the time he is withdrawn, sullen, and resentful toward us. He can become verbally profane and loud very easily so we have to watch we say.

When he was still in Denver, I thought if we could just get him here, it would give us an opportunity to show care and kindness toward him, and it would change his perspective of us, but that doesn't seem to have happened. It's not like I was expecting a complete transformation of our relationship, but there is nothing there. And now he says he will be leaving in a month, and I feel like the only opportunity we had to try to reach him and repair some of the anger and hurt from the last two years is slipping away.

As I sit here thinking about it, I think about trying to talk to him and tell him how hurtful it is that he treats us this way and implore him to please care about our relationship as his family, but I am pretty sure it would be a disaster because two weeks ago I tried to do something just like that. I went into his room, sat down, and tried to tell him how concerned I was that he was isolating himself from us so much and that I wished he would spend time with us. All it did was to make him mad and to trigger the same tired litany of angry, accusatory statements he's been making for the last two years: "You and Dad have moved all my life and you're still doing the same sh*t; you two never change; you never do anything to help me be happy and have a good life; you've never cared about me; all you care about is yourselves...." etc. etc. All I managed to do was to make us both angry.

So I'm wondering just what to do. I want him to know that it matters to us that we have a relationship with us and that his indifference to us is hurtful, but I don't know how to communicate it in a way that won't trigger him. I don't want to squander this time we have with him; I want to know that I did everything I could to change things, because frankly, once he leaves (if he does leave as he plans), I really don't know if we will ever see him again. I have to be frank and say that although I may love him, I do not like him as a person at all. He is not a good person. In fact, I'm ashamed of who he is as far as his character. And then I have to ask myself--if that's true, why in the world do I want to have him in our lives? I can't answer that. I don't know why.

Tuesday night he and I had some conflict over some food items (He has been eating us out of house and home), and he made me so angry, I'm ashamed to say that looked at him and said, "You are a pathetic person." I had to apologize to him later. Yesterday morning, I wrote him a note and left it, telling him that we care for him and we don't want to have anger and bitterness between us. He, of course, did not mention it or respond to it. He was just as withdrawn when I got home.


I feel defeated. When you've done your very best for someone, and it's still not enough, it just leaves you feeling so worthless and such a failure.

Beta, I am so sorry for your broken heart, confusion and feeling so worthless and how hard all this feels in the core of your being. I think all of us have been where you are now. I remember trying to work with the disrespect and abuse meanwhile my self worth was torn in a billion pieces. It got so bad I was not any good to anyone. I woke up one day, my mind was clear and I told myself that I am worthy of being treated kindly and will not put up with the intense abuse anymore. I hope that you can cut your tie, it is very hard to do but tolerating his abuse is not good for him and certainly not good for you. Make a list of the things he does that are horrible and each time you get to miss him read that list. It helps.
 

Beta

Well-Known Member
JayPee, I read your response yesterday afternoon but didn't have time to respond just then. I'm at work but will take a moment now.

I say this to myself as well but it's our own fault to some degree when we put timelines on how and when things need to happen. Life's timetable just doesn't work like that. It may take years before your son sees what's really important in life and if in fact he doesn't move with you and your husband and does leave at the end of May, maybe just maybe this is the journey he needs to arrive at the place where one day you "will" have a healthy relationship. I think you know deep down you can't force the change in him. You just want it so bad, like we all do, that you thought this time together was your opportunity to make it all better. But the way I see it is it's a two way street and until Josh is ready to travel that road with you, you are walking it alone.
I agree that it may take years for him to see how important family is; sometimes people are middle-aged before they realize it. I hope that it won't be like that, but I realize it might; or he might never realize it.
I do want it badly and I have seen this as an opportunity to make it better, but I know I can't force him to want to have a relationship with us. He doesn't want a relationship with anybody right now actually. For me, I have determined that for however long he is here with us, I'm going to do my best to show kindness and patience with him, despite how unkind and self-centered he is--mainly for my own sake. I just don't want to feel regret later, like I could have or should have done things differently. This is mainly for own peace of mind, for whatever happens in the future. He does things that annoy me but, for now, I'm going to "let them go" and try to concentrate on the important thing--my relationship with him. Not easy to do, of course.

Please don't give up and say you will never see him again. Don't punish yourself with that kind of self-talk. I think I recall you saying that previously and look what happened? You did see him again. I say this only because many times with both of my sons, my heart ached and I didn't know where they were and thought that I'd never see them again. This has happened repeatedly and I did see them again after long periods of time. So don't give up.
Yes, you are absolutely right. I truly did not think we would see him again because he was adamant that he would never come here, and he refused to see me when I was in Denver in October. And yet, here he is. I'm praying that he will change his mind about moving with us, just as he changed his mind about coming here. But it's not in my hands or control.
Fighting fear with fear often strengthens its hold over me, but turning my loved ones over to God can free us all."
Good quote--I will remember this.
I believe this is not the end but maybe one of many beginnings in the long journey it's going to take Josh to "arrive".
I hope you are right. But it's just so exhausting to think about this drama continuing into our future.

On a positive note, things were better last night. I had just a little bit of conversation with him, and he and my husband had quite a bit of conversation. Fortunately, Josh likes sports, especially football, so he and my husband can "bond" over football talk, which is what happened. So, before he went into his room, he at least did talk to us a bit, and the tension was diminished somewhat. We just have to "handle him with kid gloves" in what we say and when we say it. He really cannot have relationships with people right now; his mood disorder, or whatever he has, just doesn't allow it.

To the rest of you who responded--thank you for your concern and willingness to speak into this and for "listening" to me. Posting my thoughts always helps diminish the pain a bit. Pain that is shared is often less heavy to carry. May you each know God's strength and peace today for whatever you are dealing with today.
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I wanted to chime in also and say that I am so sorry for all your son has put you through.

I really think you are a saint for being able to handle this the way you are. I found myself getting angry with my son when he acted out towards us and that actually helped me a lot with my emotions.

I think we also have to remember that God works on his own timetable and not ours. When he sees it is time for things to happen and they are his will, then they will happen. I know that was very hard for me to accept and still is.

There is still so much more that I want for my son but I know that God is in charge and not me.

Patience is a virtue.
 

MissLulu

Active Member
Beta, it is after midnight here so I won't write a long post, but I just wanted to let you know I've been thinking you. I haven't been here much over the past couple of weeks but you have been on my mind.

I don't have any real advice. I can only say that you have gone above and beyond as a parent and you can't control how Josh behaves or feels about you. I think you have to just wait it out and see what happens. Maybe you could write him a letter telling him how you feel. You don't necessarily have to give it to him now, while he's living with you or even at all. But it might help to put your feelings into words. Perhaps when (if) he leaves you could give to him. Even if he outwardly rejects your loving words at least you will know that you have sent him off with love and care.
 

Overwhelmed1

Well-Known Member
Hi Beta, know I am thinking about you and I prayed hard for everyone here last night.
I wish these young adults wanted to stop the pain they cause themselves and the people that love them so much.
The love of a child is in a whole different dimension of any other love and so is the hurt.
I believe this is why all of us here can give such good advice to each other, encourage one another, care without judgement and understand so deeply. We know the extreme love we have for our children.
Beta, I know your hurt and anguish and wish I had the words to make you feel better. I am thinking of you and your family and sending prayers.

Peace and Love
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
it is apparent through his behavior and some of the things he says that there is little to no love on his part toward us.
Look Beta. Everything Josh says and does is a manifestation of how he feels about himself. And the blame he casts upon you is an overflow of the negativity inside of him. He cannot treat you differently until he is able to treat himself differently. You cannot help him with this. He has to do it himself either through getting help, either psychological or spiritual, or through life experience.
I want him to know that it matters to us that we have a relationship with us and that his indifference to us is hurtful
He knows this. He knows this through and through. There is no need to tell him.
once he leaves (if he does leave as he plans), I really don't know if we will ever see him again
This was your fear when he was in Denver. I don't believe it is true. You would have never thought he would have come home. He did. I believe you will have a lifetime relationship with Josh, if you want it. But you've got to let go and let him work this out. That has to be okay with you. That's when Josh gets so enraged. When he feels you're not okay with letting him be, growing up. He can't stand it when he feels you're dependent upon something from him. Rightly or wrongly he seems to experience it as controlling or manipulating.
When you've done your very best for someone, and it's still not enough, it just leaves you feeling so worthless and such a failure.
Those feelings of worthlessness and being a failure are your own psychological baggage. Your son's life is his business. His feelings are his own. He has a right to them without your being crushed. Josh has lots of things to deal with. Like my own son. Adoption. Race. Growing up. Mental illness. None of these things are a reflection on you or me. When we personalize them we complicate an already difficult situation.

I want you to feel relief that Josh is going. It's the right thing for him to do. He needs to do it and wants to do it. Your feelings he doesn't love you are your baggage, not his. I believe he loves you. He's struggling now and can't get out from under. There is hope here. You have your faith. You know what to do.

You did not fail. You've been there for Josh every step of the way. You've loved him unconditionally. He knows all of this. Acknowledge yourself for the wonderful person and mother that you are. It's true.
 

Blindsided

Face the Sun
When you've done your very best for someone, and it's still not enough, it just leaves you feeling so worthless and such a failure.
Beta, I am so very sorry. I remember all Josh has done. My Difficult Child has done the same, abused the same. She is now pregnant and 41. She has stopped drinking, we are able to talk without me saying something to trigger her, the reason I had to set boundaries and stick to them, but I understand that could change. I am choosing not to dwell on it and just enjoy the conversation that is somewhat normal. If you asked me a year ago about all of this, I would never in 10 million years predict this.

I am so glad not to be in your place right now, the trigger. I get it. I was having nightmares about my Difficult Child drawing me in, loving me then starting into one of her vulgar attacks.

I chose this quote from your post because I have learned this...what we do or say will never be good enough when the benchmark is a change we want to see in them. That is irrational. The only person we can change is us.

From what you say, you have learned this. It's the application, the acceptance we cannot do for them that's a hurtle. I can only tell you, that it wasnt until I stuck to the boundaries I needed for self preservation that I felt more prepared for future adversity.

My best friend used to have a plaque in her kitchen that said,

"You can resign as master of the universe. That's my job." God

Thinking of you.
 

Blindsided

Face the Sun
Hi Beta, know I am thinking about you and I prayed hard for everyone here last night.
I wish these young adults wanted to stop the pain they cause themselves and the people that love them so much.
The love of a child is in a whole different dimension of any other love and so is the hurt.
I believe this is why all of us here can give such good advice to each other, encourage one another, care without judgement and understand so deeply. We know the extreme love we have for our children.
Beta, I know your hurt and anguish and wish I had the words to make you feel better. I am thinking of you and your family and sending prayers.

Peace and Love
Always, thankyou for the prayers. I do the same. In healing
 

Beta

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone---sorry it's been a few days. The weekends tend to be "catch up" time from working all week. I've read through each and every post, and I thank you for each one. So much wisdom to absorb and think about.

Look Beta. Everything Josh says and does is a manifestation of how he feels about himself. And the blame he casts upon you is an overflow of the negativity inside of him. He cannot treat you differently until he is able to treat himself differently. You cannot help him with this. He has to do it himself either through getting help, either psychological or spiritual, or through life experience.
Yes, this is so true. I can't change this in him, but it does hurt to see someone you love struggle with so much self-doubt and negativity toward himself. I try to be very careful about what I say to him or what I ask him, that I don't convey any doubt about his capabilities or any disrespect toward him as an adult.
But you've got to let go and let him work this out. That has to be okay with you. That's when Josh gets so enraged. When he feels you're not okay with letting him be, growing up. He can't stand it when he feels you're dependent upon something from him. Rightly or wrongly he seems to experience it as controlling or manipulating.
Again, this is true too. I have experienced this over and over again with him, and my husband says the same thing. He does get angry when he feels I'm not letting him be an adult. I'm trying to do better with this.
 

Beta

Well-Known Member
Those feelings of worthlessness and being a failure are your own psychological baggage. Your son's life is his business. His feelings are his own. He has a right to them without your being crushed. Josh has lots of things to deal with. Like my own son. Adoption. Race. Growing up. Mental illness. None of these things are a reflection on you or me. When we personalize them we complicate an already difficult situation.
I need to remind myself of this and really internalize this. Maybe I see him as an extension of myself and therefore when he struggles or fails, I too must be a failure? Hmm...gotta think about that.

"You can resign as master of the universe. That's my job." God
I'm having difficulty giving up this job! I think I've resigned but then I keep coming back to keep the universe going! :)
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Maybe I see him as an extension of myself and therefore when he struggles or fails, I too must be a failure? Hmm
I know this is the case for me. When my son contacts me and he's flailing or acting in a way that I feel is misguided, and suggests to me (strongly) that he lacks the where with all and/or desire to live in a way that I feel is useful and right, I fall into the abyss. Temporarily I lose the sense that I am living well, that my life has been successful and worthwhile. It's a boundary issue, for sure. But the thing is this: isn't parenthood a boundary issue from the get go? When we take on conceiving or raising a child don't we claim that child as part of us?

I never, ever thought ahead that it could come to this. I don't know what I thought would happen. But I didn't think it would be this.
 

Beta

Well-Known Member
Copa,
Yes, I agree. Parenting involves bonding to another human being; otherwise, how else would one human being be willing to sacrifice their needs and wants for another? So the hard part is learning to let go of that innate response as they come into adulthood and relate to them a little differently.

I never, ever thought ahead that it could come to this. I don't know what I thought would happen. But I didn't think it would be this.
Oh boy, you are "spot on" with this. I never dreamed we would be dealing with this sort of thing either. I thought I had the perfect child and had this picture of him as growing into a solid, responsible, caring, protective young man who would be honorable; who would be successful in whatever he did. Coming around to an entirely different life scenario is still hard.
 
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