I am sad and desperate and hopeless again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa I dont believe any one person, no matter how close we are to them, can make another person do anything if they dont want to. I know my kids live their own lives.

    Me and my hub and I are in sync in most life areas but I can not beg him to go to church with me. He wont. Im not even a straight on Christian but in my spiritual path I love Jesus and the arch angels and find comfort in the energy in churches. But I am uncomfortable with new people so I dont want to go alone. This is one thing I believe he, in his mind, finds too hyppocritical and judgmental (churches) so he will not go. Period. So I dont go.

    Aside from the obvious, that we can not force another even beloved person to do something they are set on not doing, I have a question for you.

    You need not answer my question. I hope it is not too personal. Skip it if you dont want to share. I mean well but sometimes I put my foot in my mouth!

    I am trying to figure out why/how J is not concerned enough about his liver to get help. Now my daughter Princess, after her early drugging and then quitting, has long decided that the pharmaceutical companies have huge political power and poisen us and it is hard to get her to take anything if she is sick. She even thinks Americans are given too many antibiotics and will ride out an illness before taking anything unless it is dire. She is more apt to use natural remedies.

    She is NOT that political so its not a conspiracy thing. She is actually right (I believe) about the pharmaceutical companies. I wonder if J feels the same way so he doesnt believe the medications will help him. (I do think that although the pharma companies have huge power, medications are often necessary so i will take them). J may not be as trusting.

    I am pretty sure my daughter would take drugs if it wete were life or death but I think a lot of younger people do think we are overmedicated. Jumper prefers no drugs too, although she is not as resistant as Princess.

    Does J not think he will be helped?

    How serious is it? Csn he maybe live with Hep B? Many do. But I dont know about active Hep B. Can it turn around and become inactive?

    I guess, and please dont free pressured to answer, I wonder why he is resistant to easy liver checks and medications. There must be a reason, right?

    I am thinking if we know his reasons we may not be able to phel but maybe somebody can think of something that WILL resonate with him. However slight the chance, you know we are all willing to brainsorm for you and J.

    Remember....nothing needs to be done this werk or this month. You have time. Eventually you WILL see him, even if it takes a maddening length of time.

    Hugs and peace. Love and light to you and my cyber nephew J.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Look. The bottom line is NOTHING I do helps. When he lived here, he did what he wanted. It is an illusion anything will change by his coming home.

    I really don't know why he's jerking my chain. I guess he wants me on the line to jerk around. It gives him a sense of power. I've created a monster.

    M always said the only control j has in life is over me. How very very sad.

    Does this mean that if I withdraw myself, j might look to himself? Not necessarily. This may be all he can do. This is the great fear. That this is it. That this is the rest of his life. And mine.

    Oh well. My agony will not change things. That's what you guys keep trying to tell me.

    Thank you.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Totally get that “illusion,” idea.
    It might be a tiny bit different in other situations. Teeeeeny Tinyyyyy. But I have found when dealing with our mentally ill child, there is no way I can get her to do something she doesn’t want to do. I MIGHT be able to get her to do something very temporarily for a big reward. But, even if the benefit for her was great, it will not be something she will do on her own or might even think to do on her own again.

    Also SWOT said that she didn’t believe you can get somebody to do something they don’t truly want to do. That pained me. Why????? Because it’s accurate. My daughter in law did something a bit rude on FB. I hosted that huge TG dinner for her. She didn’t want us all to be separated. She wanted to be near her joined at the hip relative. I found out later her mom is insanely jealous of me. So, even though she is sort of the family FB person and always says who hosted the holiday event complete with photos, we were conspicuously absent from photos and any mention that we hosted. Oddly, I’m not sure her mom outright asked her to do this. But she knew this is what her mom wanted. Well, this is a twist on what we are accustomed to here. Her mom has a creepy control over her and not in a healthy way. We are not talking about going to the doctor, taking your medications, improving yourself. We are talking about hurting others.
     
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I do not believe this. No matter our upbringing, no matter how much influence someone has in our lives, it's still an individuals choice in how they choose to live. The only thing you have done is love your son. You have exhausted yourself in pursuit of trying to get him to be more responsible. Have you enabled him at times, yes, but so have all of us with our own children.

    I think there is a little truth here. I do believe that J knows he can use your emotions against you, however, he makes choices for himself on a daily basis to live his life the way he sees fit. I do not believe that his choices are driven by a desire to hurt you emotionally. That being said, I do believe there are times when all of our difficult children will do things to hurt us emotionally but as whole, I do not think that is their main focus.

    To launch successfully into adulthood is something that all of our adult children have struggled with but in the end, it's their struggle. No matter how much we want what we want for our children, we cannot force it upon them.

    upload_2019-1-17_8-17-44.png
     
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  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa....if he comes home (at least in my mind) it would be to soothe you, not to expect him to change. I dont know how much he CAN change and it is up to.him to get neuropsychologist testing. If he would not be so inflexible, he us on SSDI and there is a lot of help for him. He need only ask for it. That, in the end, can sustain him after you are gone. Thats why I was so anxious to get Sonic set up.but he had to comply.

    We can not control the way another person interacts with us. We can withdraw, control us, but we will never be able to control any other adult.

    Nomad, I thought you quit FB???!
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I did quit FB. Sorry...went back into the past a second. The comment about control...made me reflect.

    That was interesting and very sad, Copa , that M said the only control J has in his life is over you.

    This entire discussion re the control we have over others is very interesting and a good one.

    Oh. Yes. Agony does not seem to change things. Also true. If so.. we would all be doing much better etc. sniff.

    My husband likes to say “it is what it is...”
     
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I disagree with this. I think J only has control over his own choices. He has control over you only if you cede control to him. Don't get me wrong, most of us have done that at some point, ceded control to another person. But it doesn't have to be a permanent arrangement.


    :group-hug:

    I agree with this. I think generally what they do is a means to an end...to get what they want and our pain is not intended it's just ... collateral damage.
     
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  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Lil I agree with you. Nobody can have control over us unless we allow it. Hard lesson I had to learn.
     
  9. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    I am so sorry you are going through all of this. It's so difficult when there is that real fear about our kids. I'm going to share with you something that helped me when I was worried about my son's health and I kept on panicking about him dying out on the streets (all the nightmarish scenarios popped into my brain during this time). He had run away- no money, no food, no phone...in a different city..yeah, it was bad.

    I read this book " The Four Seasons of Recovery.." and a father wrote how he came to terms with possibility that his daughter might die. He envisioned her funeral and grieved her and told her that he loved her very much, but she had her own life and her own choices to make and he'd made peace with thought that those choices might cause her own death. Maybe it's morbid, but that resonated with me. I have no control over my son. He is his own life force. He will choose to do what he wants, sometimes even putting his life at risk and as much as that hurts me, there is nothing I can do. This is true of all our children- even the ones without addiction. I've found the tighter I hold on, the worse it is. When my son ran away, something shifted in me. I knew he was his own person and as much as I loved him, he would do what he wanted to do - and I needed to continue on for myself and my other kids. None of us want to think of this, yet maybe if we faced death head-on and grieved...just maybe we could find some some acceptance in our situations and it wouldn't torment and cause us such anxiety on a daily basis because you'd already come to terms with the worst case scenario. Hope that makes sense.

    You are so lovely, please take good care of yourself. Put your son to the side for today - maybe even get some distance for you to heal a little.
     
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Part of the problem is that I do not believe my son about what he says he has done to monitor his health. Part of it is that I do not trust in him to decide right. Part of this is that he wants me out of his business, and obfuscates. Part of this is that I am unreassurable. If I think about it, there is not one thing that would completely reassure me about his liver.

    There is a saying in a book that I really love: The worm at the core. The famous psychologist William James wrote this (he was brother to the writer Henry James.) The worm of which he speaks is death. Everything I deal with in relation to my son feels to me to be life and death. Either my own or his. If he were to die or get very ill while I still live, I would die of grief. My worry about it is so intense, that I cannot live well. This worry is so great that it transcends into the other realm. My worry about him is so great that I think about what will be when I die. My worry for him, unlike my life itself, is eternal. It never passes. In a way this is the same thing about my grief over my mother. On some level, I will not let it pass. It is like groundhog day.

    This interests me very much. This very much seems to be about the mistaken belief that there is control. That by holding my breath and holding on, I can stop something from happening, or prevent something from happening. So. If I look at it this way, this is not a problem about the future, or the past, it is a problem about the present, and as such completely within my power to change.

    I can come to be aware of in the moment what my thoughts are and change them or change the channel through meditation or exercise, or whatever.

    It is a fallacious thoughts to believe that an individual controls and is responsible for life and what happens in a life.

    This is about letting go of that erroneous belief. Freeing myself of it. Not by jerking my son around, or trying to manipulate him, but my identifying how I hurt myself and stopping this. At this moment I can see that this has not one thing to do with my son and only to do with this pattern of behavior that is mine, and only mine.
    Yes. Especially, if I do not change. Because as long as I trap myself in this illusion that I am responsible and that by this groundhog day I control the future, I keep myself and our relationship contained within it.
    So, if I look at this through the above lens, I act as if the only control I have in life is over J. I surrender having control over my own life, in the mistaken belief that this is the only control I have. I locate my destiny, in him. And this must be why I get so panic stricken.

    This must have to do with a lifelong pattern of feeling helpless in relation to the actions (or inaction) of others, namely my parents.

    But the thing I must remember, and act from, is that that helplessness at the hands of others, no longer exists.
    So. I will read Tanya's quote here, from that perspective. It is my choice in how I choose to live. Do I live as if I am helpless in the face of my son's whims, decisions, actions, or thoughts? Or do I operate in my life as if I am an autonomous agent to the extent I can?
    I do not think my son seeks to hurt me, and I know that he feels bad when he reflects upon my suffering in relation to him.
    And this is exactly it. I think the issue here is that I have some sort of mental case, whack job, distortion going on that I will describe this way: remember those old silent movies, where the ingenue is tied to the railroad tracks, and she is helpless and the train is coming? And she writhes and twists and turns, in kabuki-theatre like exaggerated facial and body distortions in order to wordlessly convey to the audience her agony and her need for rescue....?

    I keep over and over again putting myself on the railroad tracks...to clamor for rescue...and I am the one who has bound myself in rope and put myself there. J did not put me there. I did. And I do it over and over again. I do it. Not him.

    Now. There was a time in my life when this very situation happened. When I was helpless and needed rescue and nobody came. And I must put myself on those train tracks over and over again, trying to work this out. In psychology they call this the compulsion to repeat. The unconscious hope would be, if one repeats this enough times, somebody will come to the rescue. Thus, groundhog day.

    The vulnerable person at stake is me, not my son. Of course, I am concerned about him. To the extent we all know. But the way this gets repeated at such disastrous cost, in me, has to do with something over which I have both control over and responsibility to fix.

    I need to stop putting binding myself with rope, putting myself on the tracks, and screaming for somebody to intervene to save me. Because what I am doing here, is making myself helpless to my son, and making it his job to save me from myself. And that is not right.

    I have not realized this before. It is not my son's vulnerability that is so triggering to me, it is my own. To him. Because I cannot control what he does or does not do, makes me feel helpless. And that is what I keep repeating over and over again. The time(s) I was helpless long, long ago, and wanted something to stop. This is what I keep repeating. Over and over again. And I can stop it. Nobody else can. Not my son, or anybody. Me.

    Thank you very much people.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  11. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Copa- I have gone through similar situations with my daughter and I have responded much as you have. Over the years I have found that when I just leave something alone and stop mentioning it she usually does it after awhile. I can't tell you the number of times this has happened. I harped on her for years to quit drinking, she refused. When I just stopped talking about it, she stopped drinking. She had the worst boyfriend who treated her horribly. I b*tched about him and tried to explain how she could have a better life without him and she ignored me. When I quit talking about what a jerk he was she finally left him for good. Here's my take on this, and I could be completely wrong, but this is what I think. I think she is so determined to NOT do what I suggest that it reinforces the behavior I am trying to stop. She is so hell-bent on being her own, independent person that she just digs her heels in. I also think a she see a grain of truth in what I am saying and a seed is planted. So when I relieve the pressure she then does what she knows will improve her life. That doesn't mean I never do it, I sometimes still try to push my agenda on her. But I just find it interesting that this is how it works out usually. I hope you are finding some peace. I know how horrible this must be.
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will cut to the chase and summarize my long post above,: I am addicted to feeling desperate and hopeless. And i am addicted to looking to be saved by something or somebody outside myself.

    While it is appropriate that I feel appropriate concern for my son it is inappropriate I cast him as a major player in my melodrama.
     
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  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    That was very profound. Some “mystical” types for lack of a better word say that we may have been “given” a Difficult Child to learn something. Or because we had a special gift that could cope with this situation. I have always thought this”far out.” Buy, maybe. I don't know. ????

    But such huge stresses does tend to make or break a person. Learn a lesson or freakin die.

    I’m rushing to an appointment sadly. I’ll readress if I can later.

    But many things you said resonated with me.

    1. I’m of European heritage. Maybe maybe not any part of this.Pribably not. I did tend to think many of my relatives a little melodramatic. I was very close to my wise mom. Maybe maybe not also a part. But I too can fall into that mode /trap of needing rescuing and it almost getting addicted to the/their crxp. Not healthy.

    2. A therapist once uncomfortably but surely told me my daughter’s current actions...yes could kill her. It was a wake up moment. Nothing I could do about it. Sad Light bulb moment.

    I don’t get any of it. Life can be very unfair. But, I also have many blessings too. I’m trying to focus on that. I’ve learned a lot. In a weird way...this too is a blessing.

    Powerful stuff.
     
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  14. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I used to be addicted to drama too. I grew up in a home filled with constant conflict and drama. As I became an adult if there wasn't conflict in my life I would create some. It was a terrible way to live, but I really didn't know any differently and I was addicted to the constant adrenaline rush. With my daughter it became so intense and created such fear in me that I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin and hyperventilate and die. It was too, too much. Around the same time that she was having her baby with her abusive boyfriend I got out of my second marriage which was also abusive (no surprise there). I was so physically uncomfortable and emotionally drained I was on the brink of suicide. I crashed at work one day and left to drive directly to our local domestic violence shelter. A counselor spoke with me right away and invited me to their weekly women's support group. That group saved my life. I was supported by staff and the other women who had been through situations similar to me. I learned about boundaries and how to treat myself in a loving way. I learned that the situations I had survived were not my fault- which I had always felt like they were. As I healed I mentored new members and that helped me as well. I moved to a house on a lake and spent lots of time out in nature with my dogs. I worked hard to change my patterns of thinking and responding. I worked hard to create and maintain healthy boundaries. I learned to trust myself and my feelings. If a situation feels bad, I get out. When people with negative energy enter my space I get away from them. I'm not perfect and I still have bad days, but my life is hella better than it's ever been. I have worked hard to create peace and balance in my life and I enjoy every minute of it. It's also made me much more selfish, which in my case is a good thing. Copa I hope you find something like I did that can help you break your cycle of stress and drama.
     
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I really like this quote and think it fits with what you are going through.
    You dear Copa need to nurture yourself.

    upload_2019-1-17_15-31-17.png
     
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  16. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    I don't know, Copa. We have to be careful to not oversimplify our situation/feelings/process/reactions. We want answers. Maybe you're just *used* to feeling desperate and hopeless, but it doesn't sit right with me to bring it all down to that. You are a mother. You love your son. Your son needs help. You want to help him. This is natural. We don't need to justify it. I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say, but I often catch myself finding something to blame in *myself* because it's simpler than trying to find the real answers. Like, "OK, it's ALL my fault because of x, y, z. And now I don't need to keep twisting my brain into a ball trying to understand all this."
     
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  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When I read this I did not think this was me (see below, please). I would respond that I do not seek out conflict: I avoid it. But while not false, it is a half-truth. I worked in maximum security prisons and did not feel this environment to be uncomfortable. The danger. The adrenaline rush. Crises. To me felt to be NO BIG DEAL. I perform well in this kind of environment. But at home I withdraw. I do not want intensity at home.

    In my case I believe in my work I was trying to master chaos. It was my profession to do so. To handle it. To respond to it. To make decisions within it. To quell it.

    But at home one is consumed by it. It is indeterminate. It is emergent, inflammatory. Chaotic. There is no control possible. No mastery. I do not seek this out or have I sought to create this. This would be to be a victim. While I have fallen into situations where I am victimized, I seek to leave them. But this is my history.

    But I believe you have hit on something eliza. I believe that this internalized pattern, of putting myself on the train tracks and begging to be saved, is certainly a dramatic event. I am the passive figure. I am acted upon. But I have created the scenario. None of the central characters of the original family drama are alive. Just me. I have to take responsibility. I am the screenwriter.
    There is a crisis center here and I will ask about a group. I have been thinking about going to their weekly art group. Your post reminds me to follow through. Thank you.

    See. I am balking because in my case, the scenario is pretend. It is a construct that I have in my head that propels me to perceive and organize and react to the figures in my life, in a way that triggers to make me a victim in an imaginary scenario where I feel what they do to me, is hurting me, and that i am helpless to save myself, or to be saved unless they change or stop. But in the effects, it is exactly the same. There is a victim and a perpetrator and I feel helpless to help myself...and abrogate that responsibility to others and do not myself feel the capacity to protect or care for myself. It is exactly the same.

    This would be a miracle:
    Wow. Thank you Eliza
     
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well. I agree with this too.

    What I am doing is like "blaming the victim." And trying to make myself responsible for both sides of the behavior. The actions and the effects.

    But see, Baggy. We have no control here. If I can find a way to take responsibility for the actions and the effects, there is a way that this agony can stop. As long as I am attached to effects in my son, I am helpless. Because I do not see myself as detaching in any real way. I have to find a way to detach from the drama.

    Your child is still young. Even though your control is limited, you have control. What control do I have?
     
  19. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    I don't really have control either. The only thing I can do is force him to come back here, where the likely outcome is that one of us will die. What the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is like, I don't really know. Nothing I would choose is a possibility right now.

    But I have managed to detach to a substantial degree. It makes me sad. I can imagine never seeing my son again, getting a phone call one day with the worst news, or not getting any news at all, and being okay with it. At least this is what I feel now. I would like to complete my 18-year responsibility to society, as a parent, but then I'm done unless he really, really wants his family back. I don't know how I got here, but it's where I'm at. Of course, I can't no for sure until the day comes when I really don't know where he is. And this is where you are.

    We love our sons. We aren't perfect. But we were good mothers to them, and this is what we must carry in our hearts.
     
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What I am trying to say is that we are hostages to a situation because we are mothers, and we feel unable to leave, trapped. We are held hostage by our love and responsibility and then we become traumatized by the circumstances that keep assaulting us over and over again. And we feel helpless.

    Some of us, actually have been traumatized, in our lives, I would argue perhaps here, maybe a third of us, at least. And we are triggered by the situations of our children, from which we feel no escape.

    Until I read your above post I thought we were saying the same thing.

    I am flabbergasted by this:
    I am having to forcibly control my breathing. I want to tell you so badly that this is overly dramatic. But if I tell the truth to myself, this is where I was last week when I wrote to him, do not come back here or I will call the cops. I think I felt it to be life or death for me. And possibly for him. That I feared in some dissociated state what I might be triggered to do. Now I know that I would never do anything to hurt him...but who wants to live even for 5 minutes in a state of mind like this. This is what Eliza is saying. She has learned to take herself away immediately from these kinds of triggers.

    But she, and you have underage sons. I have an adult child who has trouble taking care of himself. To some degree or another we are trapped.
    Baggy. I can't remember if you were here on the board when I kicked my son out of the other house, and he was squatting and I kept having to call the cops and call the cops. And I was terrorized by his very presence. He had done nothing to me except cross boundaries.

    The first month he was gone, I felt like you did. Like for the first time in a long time I was safe to relax. And I felt a great deal of satisfaction that I had acted to create this safe zone for myself. But after that first month, is when the panic began. I am not saying that for you this will occur. We have different lives and personalities.

    But I see your situation as similar in this: For the first time in years, the responsibility at least in a day to day sense is out of your hands. Somebody else is carrying it. You can sleep. You can eat. You can work. Without the constant pressure and hyper-vigilance that was your baseline for such a long time. G-d willing, this will continue, and this respite will continue. Forgive me. But I see this as a respite or a time out, not necessarily detachment. And to me, this is a good thing.

    But then, you can see where my thinking has gotten me. So as SWOT says, feel free to ignore what I say.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019