Holiday Stress with Adult Children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jodiehooks, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Well, I hope everyone out there is doing ok. I am trying to get past the holidays without too much worry. Son in prison says he is going to church, and taking things more seriously, not much contact with daughter who has major issues and lives 500 miles away. I sent each of them a few small dollars for Christmas with a card telling them I am thinking of them and hope all is well. I have not yet heard from son, but daughter sent a text thanking me, that was all she said. She does not tell me much, which may or may not be a good sign but I am busy with my 83 year old mother who should not be living alone but is stubborn and won't leave the house. My plate if full and I do not have any more room for emergencies right now. Just trying to take it a day at a time.
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  2. JaneBetty

    JaneBetty Active Member

    Thanks for checking in, Jodie, 'tis the season, eh?
    We are going to go back up north for ten days for a medical procedure since we met our deductible this year, and we are trying to figure out how much contact to have with difficult daughter.
    Our other two daughters will be in the vicinity, and it would be a shame not to try to gather the family together, but from independent reports I've been getting lately, it seems that daughter number two is on a rampage, intent upon telling anyone who will listen how horrible her family is. I know she is nervous about her upcoming court date, and I am betting she is off her medications, based upon the things she is saying. Sigh.
    I guess we all play it by ear in these circumstances, because that's all you can do.
    Happy Holidays, everyone!
  3. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I know what you mean about your mom refusing to move. People say you can't tell teenagers anything, but try telling someone in their eighties what to do, and it's brick wall city! My grandma refused to go into assisted living.
  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Good for you! Keep this knowledge at the forefront of your brain and try not to waver.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The thing is you can't be responsible for everyone. Mom is being selfish. Can she hire a caregiver? We did that for my dad when he wouldn't go into assisted living. He didnt like it but he got good care.

    It is not your job to caretake everyone in your family. That will kill you and professionals can do it. Even with Mom. It is exhausting to care for dementia patients.
  6. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    I just got back from Chicago, a wedding that was held in a beautiful church and the reception at the Medinah Country Club in Itasca Il. What beauty in contrast to the turmoil in my life!! I am not a material person, but to be in such a beautiful and wealthy place, and be experiencing such sadness and pain over my children and my mother took away from the experience. In Answer to Somewhere who says to hire a caregiver, we have tried to get her to do so, but she is an extreme hoarder, we have not been actually inside her house in about 4 years and she refuses to allow anyone else in either. I have taken her to her lawyer, who explained the penalties and processes of having the city involved in an unsafe property, a doctor who was no help in the matter and said he could do nothing and a family therapist who said that it is a disease and she is not incompetent but just suffering from a mental disorder. So I have no grounds to invoke a power of attorney and in the meantime she has been driving against the doctors orders (again doctor will not call the license bureau in fear of being sued). So yes I do have that on my plate against my wishes. Since my original email above, the daughter called saying her van has become unable to be driven, mechanical issues and no money to fix so job is in jeopardy as well as no money and rent due. This caused me panic and anxiety even if it shouldn't have. Over the weekend I just became overcome with grief over all these problems and thinking of how powerless I am over them. I understand all that everyone says here, how it is not my problem and all. But watching a wedding take place between 2 young people who did everything right, and who has all the benefits this world has to offer just made me realize all the more how many years my children have been acting out irresponsibly and how much I have missed and also how much grief I have in comparison to the parents of these 2 bright young people getting married under all the right conditions. Self pity? Some. Some is dread of the future for all of us. But mostly just grief over how impossible things seem and how hopeless I feel about the future for myself and both my adult children. Me for having to suffer watching them suffer by their own actions, them for most likely going to have a lot of pain because of the decisions they have made. I don't know yet how things will go for my daughter, she only sent a few texts and refused to call or have a phone conversation. She didn't actually say she did not want to talk, no she has other ways such as texting me that she can't talk as she is needing to shower and then after she gets all done she will call, which she does not normally do. So I sent a text back saying I hope she works things out and that is the last I have heard. I just do not understand how she thinks. I would think that if she were really in a bad spot she would tell me, but no. So I am taking it again a day at a time, and proceeding with Christmas with my boyfriend and his wonderful family. We always do Christmas eve at his home and it is always fun with lots of food and all the big Italian family he was born into. I used to feel bad that I spent time there instead of with my own but since I could not change it I kept going and now it is a really fun time. So, for now I hope this finds all of you doing well and thanks for all the input, I am doing the best I can and again welcome comments and advise since I do not have all the answers.
  7. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    I have no advice...except find some Peace this Xmas. Holidays are meant for ALL to enjoy, regardless of beliefs. The responsibility of an elder is huge, and millions are dealing with it seems you have taken the right steps.

    Who knows how your daughter thinks...if you knew you probably wouldnt be all that worried. She still seems to reach out just to know your there.

    I find gatherings sad..all the college kids coming home for the Holidays...and mine, well....working the drive thru window. No car..court date coming...sigh is to be enjoyed with people..surround yourselves with those who love, support and lift you up.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hon, you have no control over your mother as long as she is competent. You can't care for her. Like a difficult child, she is acting badly and you think you can help her. How?

    There are people who take on the role of everyone's caregiver, giving up their own lives. Even when nothing can be done by you.

    This a hard role to take on. For you.

    Yes, I suppose it is hard turn to see a wedding if your two adult kids are refusing to live a normal life, an independent life, the life we dreamed for them when we held them as babies. But you have the power to accept what exists in the moment and to enjoy your life even at that wedding or with family of boyfriends fun, fun Christmas.

    You do not have to take on a sad persona because of people who, although you love them, have decided to refuse help and live quality poor lives. Do you feel guilty when you have fun. You deserve happy.

    I hope you have a fun time at Christmas!!!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, I know that grief you speak of, I imagine most of us here understand your grief. At times it can feel overwhelming, however, I am a believer in allowing ourselves to feel the grief, not to be overcome by it, but to allow ourselves to feel the sorrow that is truly a part of this experience with our adult children. There is much to let go of and most of us humans are not very good at letting go, we cling to our children, to our beliefs, to what we've lost, to what our kids have lost.......we compare our kids to typical kids and of course, end up feeling not only sorrow, but a deep disappointment that our kids may not have the life we so wanted for them.......I've felt all of that too Jodie, I think it's built into this path we find ourselves on.

    We can decide however, at appropriate times, decide to put those sorrows, those disappointments aside and to be in the present moment, right here, not ruminating about our kids, not thinking about all that we've lost, not worrying about the future, but to grab hold of this moment and enjoy it. As you manage to do at your boyfriends family home. Over time we can expand those moments and have them last a bit longer. One moment at a time we can learn to be here now and accept reality as it shows up. Struggling against reality creates suffering. I know how hard it is........look for those pockets of joy, peace and fun......expand those moments.......focus on those......hang in there Jodie.........You have a lot on your plate right now........find moments of peace and cherish them.
  10. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    Jodie, I'm right there with you. I'm so sad. On the verge of tears most of the time. I want one of those Hallmark Christmases. Instead my daughter has not spoken to me for almost three months. Why? Because I said no to signing for an apartment. And then I told her I'm old and tired and can't handle the stress anymore. So that's the end of that. I'm mad. I'm sad. And I don't understand. My daughter also contacts me when things go wrong. So, in that respect, I'm glad I'm not hearing from her. I've had many vacations interrupted while I deal with problems in her life. In the meantime, she barely works so there's no money to even pay for an oil change. I sold (gave) her my minivan because her car fell apart. I've received $200 in the last 9 months in payment, after promises of getting a job, etc. I liked my minivan, but sod it to her so we could get work. So, I had to go buy another car. Just one example of her behavior through the years. The hard part is my granddaughters. I miss them so much.
    We're going to my husband's family for Christmas. They're Jewish, with some interfaith marriages thrown in. We may then head to the beach depending on the weather. I know none of us ever imagined our adult children to be in the places they are. I dream of my granddaughters being in their own rooms in a real house instead of a weekly motel room. Sending love to all of you.
  11. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Mamacat: Thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry to hear about your sadness with your daughter. But I do understand how you feel. I am sad and mad too. Today my daughter replied to a text I sent to her (she barely answers the phone so I have to text). The last contact I had was strange, she texted me about a mandolin for sale in the town she lives in (I play music but not mandolin). She said it was only $25.00. I asked her if she planned to play it or why she was telling me this. Long story short she gave a small story about her van (I paid for and has many miles on it, expect soon it will die) of how it was not running right and dying when she starts it etc. I asked questions and made suggestions and suddenly she just quit texting. I have not heard from her until I texted her again today telling her I hope she is well. She makes no mention of the van or any thing and I did not ask. Weird. Her very small part time job is not supporting her. She has major depression, drug use and anxiety. She is on major medications for the anxiety and depression and has been saying she is getting therapy. I encourage her to file for ssdi through an attorney, but did she? I don't know. I am 66 and have my own life to live but your kids are so deeply attached to your heart that it just kills me to see all this. Hang in there Mama, you and I will live through this.
  12. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Tank you so much. It is not easy but as you say sometimes just allowing yourself to feel the sorry is ok. I do not always act on that but it does come and go. I really appreciate your reply and this forum. All of you mean so much to me and I do hope the best for all of us.
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  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    There is no need to use a lawyer for a Disability unless you are turned down. Expensive too. You can apply online. You do have to gather medical proof of being disabled.

    Many of our more dysfunctional kids think they are too good for things like social security yet they wont or can't work so they expect us to support them forever. The difference is to their ego. Also some don't want to work except for that dream of selling pot for a living.

    I also think any of our kids show signs of cluster B personality disorders...narcicistic, antisocial and for the females borderline. All cluster B personality disorders include lack of empathy, rage, and being not nice as people (except when they want something...then they can be chsrming) unless you say no.

    You can not have a real relationship with someone who has a personality disorder. They are really, at heart, interested in themselves and their ability to love is limited.

    It is sad that others suffer because of things like this that make our beloved children unable to relate to us like most parents relate to their adult children.
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  14. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Somewhere, when I suggested m daughter use a lawyer it was because she has filed an application (supposedly) and was denied. Now I do not know the reason for the denial, it could have been due to lack of providing information which she is big on doing. I just thought that since she is not getting anywhere on her own she could use one. She is definitely dysfunctional and difficult to communicate with. I just thought she needed assistance to follow through and the cost of what they take out if you get it would be worth her getting some help. What is cluster B? My father was diagnosed in the 50's with being anti social and having schizophrenia. He died on the streets with mental illness. It has been a long hard path for me with 2 mentally ill parents and difficult surviving children. I am just about at my wits end here.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Are you positive she filed? Would she know how to do it?

    They tested me and also saw all my records and work history within the previous five years. You do have to prove it.

    Antisocial is Cluster B. Wow. Your father. I'm sorry. I am sure my father is Narcicistic. You can't really talk to him unless he is the topic and he is disinterested in anything except having ladies like him and being admired and he has said awful things to me and doesn't think he is wrong. Ever. About anything. Apologies? They are only for other people.

    He is a difficult Not close to any of us. Ashamed, really, because he feels he can't brag about us. This can run in families. I see these traits in my oldest son. Exactly the same except his does love his son, at least now that his son is little and still adores him.

    Borderline is Cluster B too and the most common Cluster B personality disorder in females. All three personality disordered people are unpleasant to interact with and they all lack caring for others and empathy, are drama queens or kings, and have mood swings and rages if they think you done them wrong.

    Revenge is a big part of what they do as well as cutting off people who love them in order to to punish and hurt them often for reasons we do not understand.

    Appealing to their emotions doesn't change anything because they only feel angry emotions and only act loving when they are being pleased or are manipulating us into giving them something. Then They turn on us if we say no.

    They tend not to go to therapy ("there's nothing wrong with me, it's everyone else") and the success rate in therapy is not good anyway. They often get offended and leave.

    I see a lot of these behaviors described with our difficult children on this forum. It breaks my heart. I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. And to hope for change and not see it. Never see it.

    I am sorry that you are sad. I once was too but I understand more now and don't try to read on with unreasonable people. Good vibes out to You! You can't have a discussion that leads anywhere if the person is sure he/she is right and we are just being insulting.
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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  16. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Jodie, you have hit the nail on the head. The holidays seem to be a catalyst for emotions at both ends of the spectrum. And you have a double-whammy with not only 2 difficult children but add in 2 parents with mental illness. Your plate is more than full.

    There is not much you can do if your parents are competent (whether we believe their decisions are correct or not). The Cluster B traits are so difficult to work with - our daughter is in that category. SWOT has summarized the characteristics perfectly.

    I made a promise to myself this year that my daughter was not going to ruin another holiday. She hasn't spoken to me in 2 months and I'm not sure where she is. Our son is back from overseas and has missed 2 Christmases. Last night was wonderful as we had the whole clan together at our house. We turned off the phone and enjoyed the dinner and festivities. It felt good to laugh and have a good time but when I woke up this morning there was a feeling of sadness and a premonition that something is going t happen. Sure enough, the phone started ringing (from "Unknown Caller"). I'm not answering it. It's so hard to let go but I have to.

    I'm sorry for your sadness and frustration. I hope that you can take some time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate.
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  17. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Reading along, Jodie.

    It is easy to get down when we see others at their best, and a joyous occasion like a wedding is definitely seeing others at their best. Just remember, we don't see the after-the-honeymoon arguments...or the catering bills :eek::D

    You sure do have your plate full, but I am hoping you are finding ways to make today joyous and peaceful.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Jodie...I like what you did with the cards and small gifts. No doubt having to take care of an older relative is straining. How wonderful that your daughter was appreciative of your card and gift.

    We always have difficulty with our Difficult Child child on xmas. I do not know if some of this is due to her being adopted. I think perhaps in some small way. I think most of it is from her bipolar illness with some adoption issues mixed in. She was particularly miserable this xmas. I might post about it. She is almost thirty. Extreme negativity and often just downright mean.
    I'm trying to recuperate.

    I was fortunate in that our bio son and his family were particularly lovely....upbeat, kind, appreciative, etc. Like living in two worlds.

    Jodie...Hope you find time today to relax and enjoy. I often truly enjoy this week before New years...a peaceful time of reflection.
  19. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Mcdonna: I am so sorry for you sadness, and glad to hear from you. I just got back from the holidays at my boyfriends. I did not have too much family drama during that time but it is always on my mind, I have to make an effort at times to let it go and be in the moment. I try to live in the moment and am making progress but am aware that my life does not have the same easiness that some do who do not have these types of serious issues with children. I often wonder how that feels, to not have drama to worry about and be able to feel true joy without the sadness that some of us have had to deal with. I do not hear a lot from my daughter, but over the holiday she did call and say that the employees at her job took up a donation for her and it was a little over $300.00 which she can use to try to fix her ailing old van that she has. And my son, in prison who worries about where he will live when he gets out, has had his daughter offer him a place, so for now my drama is more sadness than immediate trauma. And I am working at letting go so that I can be in the habit of feeling more upbeat and less concerned even when things are relatively ok. I hope you have a good year and that it will be better this year than last!!
  20. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Thank and good to hear from you. I am back from the holiday and hope for a better new year for all of us.
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