Hoping to see son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Beta

    That the apology was verbal or text does not alter it. He apologized.

    It sounds to me that each of you goes back to their bunkers in retreat, to safety. He lobs verbal grenades which seems to be the only defense he has. You use your tank, by blocking him.

    The challenge for each of you, for now, is to go back behind your lines, to a place where you can be safe, to nurse your wounds and to be able to operate whole.

    For you, I don't believe this involves Josh, for now. And he is telling you clearly that he can't handle you, and feel intact, without aggressive verbal assaults.

    Your challenge is to tolerate that, and to be okay. Not to tolerate that he insult you, but that he needs to be separate. He is asking that of you, I believe. For now. It seems he experiences your attempts to be close as provocation. In the only way he can he is asking you, I think, to respect his desire to have distance, for now.

    This is very, very hard for us. I have lived this too.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Copa, yes, I believe you are right. I would never have come to this conclusion if not for you, and I really appreciate your wisdom and insight. You've lived this longer than I have, and we all here on this site benefit. It's a hard thing to accept honestly. I really don't want to do it, but I seem to just make things worse when I try to reach out to him. At this time, I'm stepping back, but I will have to renew that resolve day by day. There will be moments when everything in me wants to reach out to him again. I just hope I can be strong and let things work out as they will.
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  3. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    One question--there are times when I step back and don't contact him, and yet he still initiates abuse. Why do you think this is?
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    In psychology there is the concept of introject. What this means (to me) is the symbolic idea or image of an important love object that we carry with us. These objects become formative and enduring parts of our inner lives.

    One challenge of growing up and away from our parents, is working out our relationship with these internalized "objects" on which our identities are based. For many of us, this process is fairly even and non-obvious. For others of us with traumatic or difficult life stories, or serious challenges in early adulthood, like mental illness (or both) this moving on in life can be conflictual and chaotic or blocked. Josh, like my son, (and me) fall into the latter category.

    To Josh, you represent love and life. At the same time he is blocked in becoming a functional and integrated adult. That is because what he has to integrate feels impossibly difficult. So when he is blocked he projects this difficulty on to you. He has labeled you as the source of the problem. (Not the real you, but the introject of you. There is a kernel of truth here, because he's having a hard time working through his love for you, specifically the introject, in an adult way.) This is unfair. It is unhelpful. But it helps him feel less horrible, by projecting this "bad" onto you, rather than inside him.

    In the short run, this helps him feel better. It handles his desire to be independent of you. It puts the problem outside himself into you. That's why he keeps returning to this.

    If you push him in a way that makes him feel uncomfortable, that's why he has to turn on the rejection. It is like an equilibrium process for him.

    Your interests and his are the same, as I see it. That he gradually no longer needs to use this as a coping mechanism. And that he can gradually find a way to make peace inside himself and with his life story.

    Your task is the same. You (and I) need our sons to make sense of our own life stories. I will speak for myself. I feel lack, bereft, missing parts without my son, and without him loving me, and representing to me that my life has had meaning.

    This is wrong. I need to find meaning in my life story myself. Not through my son.
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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  5. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you. I'm printing your last two responses out to share with my husband and to help me to remember and understand a little more what is going on with him.
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Here is a definition of introjection I found on google:

    Introjection, which is common among children and parents, occurs when a person internalizes the beliefs of other people. ... When people introject, they identify with a person or object so strongly that they cannot separate that person or object from themselves.
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Beta, I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. I would take comfort in the fact that, regardless of the reason, he contacted you, apologized...that's something. I believe you WILL see your son again.

    I found it interesting, the talk of them suddenly reaching out to shout abuse vs. just … not.

    I agree completely. My own son never called me names or even once blamed us for his issues...but that doesn't mean he can't be abusive. He's screamed at me so many times about how awful and horrible his life is and how he's effed-up and this person or that person is to blame etc., etc.

    Even now, with things better, it still can happen. A few weeks back he and his wife had decided to come for a weekend visit. They were flying. It's 7 a.m. and we're about to go to pick them up and get a frantic call. They'd missed their plane. There wasn't another one until almost midnight and they didn't have the money for it anyway. His friends had taken off work to spend time with him. Everyone was going to hate him. It was all the fault of the people who gave them a ride to the airport - insisting they'd have plenty of time and then dropping them off at the DENVER airport with only 1/2 hour before boarding. (Actually, I kind of agreed with him there.) Oh - and he'd been lying to me, they had no money saved, used his wife's entire two week paycheck to buy the tickets, have no money to live off of for two weeks...etc. He's ranting and screaming as usual. I keep trying to say something, but I'm so flabbergasted I keep starting to speak and instead giving these little half-sighs, because I don't want to just make him angrier by telling him off for being so stupid with money. Those little sighs make him mad at me, of course.

    After we hang up I text his wife, who is calm and accepting of the situation. She says he just needed to vent. I said "Why is it always at me!?!" She said she didn't know but I said I think it's because he knows I'll take it and still love him afterwards. Her reply was "If you don't, I will." I told her I had already told my son he will NEVER do better than her and her reply was "Don't I know it!" (I adore this girl I barely know. lol)

    But the point is, whether there's any reason we can see for it, they do it - the attacking and screaming and just being nasty - because it makes them feel better somehow. They do it because we'll take it. It's up to us to stop taking it.
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  8. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Lil, whoa...after that conversation, I would have been exhausted! Yes, it does make them feel better, more in control I suppose, at least temporarily. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if he doesn't have us in his life to vent on. For the time being at least, I'm excusing myself from it.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think he needs the idea of you at this point, in his life. The idea of you, is enough. He does not need that his venom actually be received by you. So. Your protecting yourself, will not hurt him. Rather, it will help him. The ideal would be that you are strong, safe, protected, intact--independent of him. This gives him the potential to be that himself. He needs you to be okay, without him. Part of this on his part may be fear, that you will dissolve without him. He needs to feel that you'll be okay, even if he withdraws, to make himself independent and whole.

    This is another reason why it would be better to pull away for a time...it allows him to come to grips with himself, and at the same time reassures him you are okay.
  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I don't know why these particular young people act so hatefully. Kay abuses me because she loves me and wants to pull away but be sure I'm okay without her? That is not something that resonates. I wish it did. It would at least be a crumb.

    I actually think it's about them, not us. They pick on us to hurt them because THEY hurt and misery loves company. And they know we will love them and put up with the abuse....until some of us don't anymore.

    I am not at all convinced that all of them care about our welfare, even subconsciously. My experience with two normal kids is that they are NICE to us and help us and are concerned about us if they care about our welfare. How can they love us yet abuse us? Is it okay if a spouse says he loves us (and maybe thinks he does) but abuses us? I don't buy into abuse ever being about a healthy, normal love. Sick love, sure.

    Our kids who bring us here are.....not acting like normal young adults who have empathy and love us. If I hadn't had more kids, I would not have known what a normal parent/ child love is.

    When Amy was born I thought that maybe something was wrong with her because she slept a lot and didn't cry much. How sad is that?
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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think our children are on a spectrum. I know what I wrote may sound wacky to some, but it is well-established psychology. Not every psychologist uses this way of thinking to inform their work, but many do. It may apply to some of our kids, which is why I posted it. I don't think we are served by being divided into categories of good or bad. I believe that some people do get locked into stereotypical and enduring patterns of behavior, that some may describe as personality disorders. But it is not necessarily useful to go there. I think conflict and thinking of personality in terms of attachment and relationships, is more useful. To some, not all.

    And while we can have short-term relief by understanding our kids as psychopathic or with pathological characters, in the long run it serves neither our kids or us. It freezes us (and them) into types. Of course there are people who never change. And they are frozen. But many are not.

    Again. I feel very strongly that parents here deserve to have hope (not false hope) and that it is not my role to deprive them of this based upon my own personal agony and experience.
    What's sad about this? Of course infants differ in temperament.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I know I did this to my mother and my son for sure did this to me.

    I can remember a conversation with my mother. I could have been 45 years ago. I remember the time and place. I remember my mood. I was sad. And I was angry. I blamed her. I could not understand at the time, exactly why I blamed her, but I remember the feeling. I remember a sense of wanting to destroy myself, because the feelings I had about myself felt so toxic, there would be no other way to escape them.

    I just wanted to put those feelings outside of myself. It felt to me that my mother should help me hold them. Right or wrong, that's how I felt.

    It took many, many years before I came to grips with the feelings, and how I related them to my mother. There was no way at the time I could have articulated what I felt, to my mother or to myself. All of it had to be worked out, revealed in life.

    If I could have found a way to maintain my relationship with my mother through the years, and to put aside those feelings, I would have had a better life. I would have suffered less, and my mother too.

    I was able to have a relationship with my mother for the last 20 years of her life, but I was never able to talk to her about what my feelings were either about myself or about our relationship. My mother was not available for that. And I did not develop the strength to try, until well after she died.

    I think the truth of relationships does not necessarily emerge until many, many years later. But I believe that nobody is served by shutting down. Not our kids. Not us. I think there can be a great relief that comes by opening up to grief and to hope.

    I think there is a lot of unprocessed grief here on this forum. But that's just me.

    I loved my mother very much. I did not know how much until she was dying.
  13. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Thanks Copa. I appreciate your intelligent thoughts always.

    I myself don't have hope anymore, but I have grieved and still grieve. I just don't see where there is hope in my situation. I don't want to hurt myself by having false hope. If it ever happens, and Kay loves me (which i don't believe is true) then, if I am still alive, when she shows it, this will obviously thrill me. But I don't expect it. "It would be nice."

    If Kay decides she loves me after I am gone, it is too late. I really don't think this will happen, especially not in my lifetime.

    I respect those that still hope. I pray they get what they hope for and are not destroyed in their hearts and souls. Hope has two possible outcomes.

    I did not put our kids in categories. I said that right now, in this moment, most lack empathy. It's true. They could not treat us the way they do if they had empathy. They would feel the guilt of empathy, understanding how we feel and not wanting to hurt us.

    Many of our kids are not empathetic due to drug use. That can change with sobriety. Or not. These are complicated young adults, treating us far worse than most parents ever experience. Few parents ever hear the words of Kay. I am glad most parents never hear words that she has said to me.

    No parent ever should hear hate from a child. It is cruel and wounds us. We may be able to learn to overcome it, but we don't forget it for the most part.

    My hope is hope for myself and has nothing to do with Kay. I have hope that my husband and I and the other kids and grands have great lives in spite of Kay's life. I have hope that we will continue to love one another. We can do this and Kay can choose to get help and join us. Or not.

    Kay is "it would be nice if" to me. It in my opinion is not healthy for ME to hope for something that is far away or may never happen. So I focus on today.

    I don't feel any of this thinking style is being hopeless. I am actually much better.

    Let's face it. We all deal with our tragedy in our own way.

    Yesterday is history,
    Tomorrow is a mystery.
    All we have is today.

    I love this.

    God bless every soldier on this battlefield. We are all in this together. Let's hold hands and pray.
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  14. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Busy, I think what I hear out of your post is acceptance .Radical acceptance that things with your daughter are the way they are. And that there is nothing you can do to change any of it . It is from the platform of acceptance that we can change ourselves and work on ourselves .And you do that by focusing on your own life and the loved ones that want to have healthy, loving relationships with you.

    I think that the verbal abuse I have received from my adult son was dished out because he could do it. It didn't hurt him, he knew I would take it (at the time) , and the sick therapist we had at the time allowed it rather than showing us how healthy conflict could be managed. That gave him the idea that it was ok to talk to me that way , and he continued to do that whenever he was upset and did not want to do something that I had asked him to do. And this went on until I put a stop to it by setting boundaries and telling him what I would not accept any longer. And then followed up by leaving the room when he tried again. It has been months now, and he has not tried it again.

    In Al-anon I have learned to love myself, and I no longer need to be loved by other people. If I am - great! It's icing on the cake, but I don't have to have it. And that is a real good Feeling . One of empowerment and self respect .

    With my adult children, I love them and they can't stop me from loving them. But I have to protect myself first, and put myself first or I will be back to square one. And I am Powerless over whether they love me or not.
  15. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    That, Wise, is completely how I deal and think. I had been to Al Anon just last night, being reminded of what I can and can't control. Me I can control. Kay, not at all.

    We have an addict with a son who is one in our group and he is soooooo helpful to husband and I. He knows the tricks addicts play and the personality traits addicts have due to the addiction, whether they are still using or not.

    He has been clean thirty years but his son is sleeping under a bridge. He cried when he shared "I have to leave it to God. As an addict I know that only God and my son can change him."

    He helped me be certain that I knew that constant mood altering pot IS an addiction and that my daughter's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) focus on things, such as talking nonstop to anyone about vaccines, is part of her addictive mind. As is her need to control others. And her manipulation. He will share with us how he tried to manipulate before 12 step. It helps, this real time support. Kay comes to life in.his words and in the stories others share.

    I came to see that I make Kay sicker when I enable her, when I talk too much when she is obsessing, or don't set boundaries and keep them. I love this wise and sensitive man. His wife is my Sponsor. I get a lot of help from both. I am able live in this moment with Kay now. And I don't analyze the WHY. She is an addict. That is all I need to know. I have learned so much about how to best respond to an addict even in despair.

    And through Nar Anon I got my life back. My sanity. My family. My hobbies. My self love.

    Acceptance of the moment is key for my husband and me. We think a lot alike, Wise. I think you are indeed wise.i don't believe I could have healed myself. We would have been caring for Kay, looking for a break through, for the rest of our lives. We would not have given her to God in a real sense.

    But we did it. And we deal with each day now, one day at a time and Kay is not fixable by us so we don't obsess over her. Life is pretty good now.

    God bless everyone. Do try the twelve steps. I don't think most of us can do this alone.
  16. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    This is very helpful to me in understanding the dynamics a little bit. If pulling away from him will help him in some way, rather than harm him as I feared, I'm more than willing to do that. I don't want to be the thing that hinders him from coming to grips with the reality of his illness and his circumstances. Thank you Copa.
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