I need to be tied to the mast.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I received a letter from Tornado before she was released. She was using a different tactic, a poem, with happy memories and oh yes, then a request for $100. I haven’t heard from her, it’s been a week since she got out. I have no idea what she is doing.
    Poof, gone. Huh.
    Our kids are manipulative and clever. They know how to get to the core of us with their words, keep us second guessing ourselves and operating from despair.
    It is hard to make good decisions, from that base. On my walk this morning I was pondering about my two and the place of pain I hit at my lowest point on this journey. For sure, whether it be by design or happenstance they have a keen ability to elicit response, to get what they want.
    I was thinking about this, Copa. I am sorry that it comes to this, but I believe you are right on point.
    Funny you should write this, I was reminiscing on this very thought. That we make them beggars, as if they are incapable of self care. It is no wonder that they then feel entitled and at the same time are disrespectful and unappreciative. Stagnant.
    It is hard not to cave, we are fighting every urge to make things right and good for them.
    But they have to want it themselves.
    They are capable.
    I have to keep reminding myself of that. At the same time, build myself up to a place of balance. Then, I can make better choices.
    I think it is good you directed your son to get help where he is at. It is out there. It doesn’t have to come from you. I know how hard this is, Copa. When Tornado asked to come home after hubs passed it was the hardest thing to say no. But I knew it was the right thing. She got worse here. It definitely got worse for all of us.
    Stay strong.
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Following all of your posts as I want so badly to text J and ask how he's doing. I'm in my third week of no contact. Hugs to each of you as you walk through this "wilderness" journey of grief. I find wisdom and comfort here. Thank you.
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  3. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Copa I’m so sorry he’s keeping you on this roller coaster with his texts. Stay strong. He does have options. You’re not turning him away or abandoning him. He’s choosing not to accept your conditions. That’s on him, and it’s a free choice he’s making. SWOT has pointed out some great options, and you’ve sent him some places he can go or call. If he’s offering you $500 in rent, he could also find a room off Craigslist to rent if he doesn’t want to meet your conditions. Or go to one of the apartments he can get with his disability, even if he doesn’t care for the neighborhood. Like you said, it can’t be worse than the streets, right?

    The texts do sounds like drama and manipulation to me rather than serious threats. Oh goodbye cruel world...look what you’ve brought me to! I’ve heard these kinds of threats many times. I actually worry more when they stop talking and stop asking for things and just seem full of quiet despair.

    Stay strong, and I hope M stays strong, too. J will have to make a choice and decide what he’s willing to do for himself and what compromises to his freedom/chosen living environment he’s willing to accept to get the stability and safety he wants. Don’t we all have to make those compromises? Most of us aren’t multimillionaires with unlimited resources and freedom to do what we want all day and live anywhere we want. Our kids need to learn.

  4. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Stay strong. Out of your control. Don't let him manipulate. Take care of you! If that means not reading manipulation then let it go unread. If it were critical he'd call.
  5. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Oh my Dear Copa;
    My heart truly goes out to you. I wish I had s balm to heal all of this ill fated suffering we all go through.

    The complexity of MH as well addiction is so difficult for each of us to comprehend.

    I wish you some form of peace.

    You are a good mom in an impossible situation. Please take care of your self.

    I am not here often enough but I am still here.

    Huge hugs to you.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi LBL

    How are you?

    It is my son's 30th birthday. He is saying he wants no contact between us. That he is forgetting me, and I should forget him.

    I will text him right now. What can I say? Happy Birthday? That would be a mockery.

    If I were stronger, or to put it another way, could a stronger parent have better tolerated him close?

    I am glad you checked in.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I know this must have been such a hard, hard day for you. I'm sorry.

    You know, the other day you said you needed to detach...you recognized that he is making his choices here. Now:

    This is (very understandable) emotion talking. In what way exactly would it have been strong to have allowed him to disrespect you and your home by continuing to go against your very simple rules of pay rent and no drugs?

    You have not been weak. You are not weak now.

    You are just a mother.

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  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Birthdays are tough, Copa. We just got through one too. I'm sorry you are hurting.

    I don't think this is true, Copa. I think the strong parent is the one who won't tolerate their sh...tuff. You've done much more than most for your son.
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  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think its hard to live with a child who self sabatages. I am glad my son is in St. Louis although I really wish I could be a hands on grandma to my grandson. But wishing doesnt equal reality. I cant do anything anymore. I will listen when I am strong enough but not every day, let alone three times a day.

    I also tried very hard, as did you.

    I dont think either of us are weak.
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  10. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I don’t see anyone weak here. Just a lot of strong, tired mamas (and papas) doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances.
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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Look. Let me put it straight (to myself).

    My son wanted to smoke marijuana and buy nicotine products and tobacco and caffeine and junk food, do nothing productive, be filthy, not take care of the apartment, gossip about us, not get treatment, have no goals, not take responsibility for his bills or responsibilities...

    with the expectation...

    that I be okay with his borrowing money, not paying rent, not paying utilities...

    and not say one thing or have one feeling about the way he lived, which included calling $6000 ambulances to take him to the doctor, and not getting treatment for his chronic mortal disease. And other things too troubling to chronicle here.

    When I put it this way....It's another story.

    I just hate the way this story has turned. I hate this. I would do anything to have it NOT be this way...and tried everything I could think of to avert it. And not one thing helped.

    I just don't understand (on an emotional level) why my son who loves me does not try to understand and accept my position. I am very aggrieved by his stance. I do not deserve it. (I know I am sounding childish and petulant. I can't help it today.)
  12. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I think many of us could have written this. This is the crux of the tragedy, isn’t it?

    Our children seem to not be able to think beyond their immediate wants and desires. They are continually in survival mode, because they can’t think and plan ahead far enough to get themselves stabilized. Perhaps it is not that he does not want to try to understand your position. Perhaps he is truly incapable right now. I don’t think it helps to beat your head against the wall trying to understand why. It simply is the way it is right now. Perhaps one day it will be different.

    I’m sorry, Copa. I know it’s hard on his birthday today. Give yourself permission to be angry and frustrated if you need to be. But be nice to yourself, and try to let go and have some peace and relaxation when you can.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My child is capable of great empathy. I have seen it on his face. I remember when my mother was declining. I could see the pain on his face. He felt pain for me.

    Last week I wrote to him that Stella had kidney disease. He loves this cat. Not a word. No response.

    Which is to say, I agree with you.

    He must be haunted right now. Which is the most painful of all to face. He must have no safe place. No place to hide. He has said as much. Can you imagine how that feels? To have to imagine your child haunted? Like those dogs that are lost and run and run on the street, too afraid to accept help, or food? Just running and running.

    How could he see me and my needs if he is in this place?

    However painful this is, it is good to face it. Just as there was no place for me to stand when he was here--there is no place for me to stand--with him away. This is between him and himself. I keep typing that and not fully accepting it.

    There is no place for me right now in this story. Except to sit with it.

    At least I am sleeping. I am taking the pills that cause dementia. Oh well.

    Thank you, people.

    You know it helps to think about Swot's Bart. Because he is not mine I can see that he does not intend to hurt his mother and destroy her life. But he seems indifferent to how his conduct affects her. Whether this is a preference, a personal style, a deliberate targeting or an incapacity I do not know. Just as I am unsure of why or how come my son acts as he does.

    But by seeing this through Bart, I can see that the why of it is neither here nor there. We have to matter to us, independent of them. It keeps coming back to that.

    There has to be a way to live where we can stay above water, and not constantly treading water, as we live. There has to be islands or safe ships (I want to go on a freighter cruise) that we find for us. Independent of them. I know all of this. I just wish the pain would go away.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  14. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Oh my Dear Copa;
    My heart truly goes out to you. I wish I had s balm to heal all of this ill fated suffering we all go through.

    The complexity of MH as well addiction is so difficult for each of u
  15. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    It’s a birthday celebrate you and all the wonderful and heart filled wonderful things you have done as a mother. You deserve that you are a wonderful loving mother. The rest is beyond your control.
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  16. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Copa, reading this..I hadn't thought about my son's birthday. when it comes I guess I will be very sad about him. These self serving manipulative adult children, they don't car what they do to us. Not really. All they care about is what they can get out of us. Yet we feel guilty and want to help them.

    I spent and hour on the phone with my bff today. She asked about son. Oh what to say anymore. the only time I hear from him is when he needs something, usually involves money. My friend pointed out that I am worth more than that. That I shouldn't enable him to ask me for money, that I should spend it on myself but not give it to him. I don't think he is doing drugs, I have seen and talked to him in person and I think he just blows money. The when it comes time for rent he is short. He has a full time job, and he needs a part time to supplement. He quit the part time,,he says..or did he steal and get fired? I can't help but wonder.

    Anyhow.. know you are worth more than how he treats you. You are wonderful to care about him even though he really doesn't deserve your thoughts.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Tired Out. He is my son and my beloved. I have never loved anybody in my life like I love him. That is what makes this so horribly hard. My son has become a person I can barely tolerate and whose behavior I do not respect.

    I have cognitive dissonance. I cannot reconcile:

    He is my beloved....(and)...I can't stand him.

    Right now, I do not know how to make sense of my quandary. But writing this helps me. I will try to figure it out.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  18. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I know. We tend to think of love as a stronger, extra special form of like, but it’s really two different things, isn’t it? We discover that it is possible to love someone with all our hearts and not like them much at all. It is hard to reconcile.

    My relationships with C and S ebb and flow. I get along with them best when I have zero expectations. Occasionally they think to ask me how I am, before or after getting to the real point of the call (what they want from me). Most of the time not. They never call just to talk or check on me. I don’t expect them to remember my birthday even to text or call - I think maybe it’s happened once with each of them over the last decade. The most I hope for at holidays is that they’ll both be sober enough to attend and that I’ll be able to find them. It doesn’t always happen.

    And it’s not that I want material things from them, or crave public recognition. But it’s sad to think that our relationship may always be stuck in this parent/dependent child mode, and never reach that stage where we are equals and friends, or where I might be able to depend on them for a change as I get older. Some adult children check on their parents’ wellbeing, maybe mow a lawn for them or help with home repairs every once in a while. Some parents have children who take them out to dinner or drive them to a doctors appointment.

    And yeah, if I think about it too much it hurts. Because we see those things as indicators of love. We want to know that they return the love we feel for them, at least in some portion. We worry that their inability to demonstrate love and care, for us and others in their lives, means we failed somewhere along the line.

    But our lost children just aren’t capable right now, for reasons we have no control over. They are standing in the midst of a hurricane. They can’t hear us. They are just concentrating on survival, moment by moment. What do I need right now, this moment, to get through today. How can I get, right now, whatever substance I have decided I need to survive. There is no room to consider anything else. Sadly, we are collateral damage here.

    So for now we have to learn to love ourselves, and lean on others who love us. We can’t put our hope in people who dash that hope to the ground time after time. You are not asking or expecting too much. This is not your fault, and not in your control. They just can’t. For now, at least.
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  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This was beautifully written Elsi and lovingly wise.

    Yes. This is it. I have written over and over again that I have had so many losses. I have turned away from family when the pain or humiliation was too great. I just cannot bear another repetition. And yet I know I can. I know I must.

    It is really about facing life in another way. In understanding the nature of life. That it really is not about happy endings. We can only work to be better people. Better to ourselves. And to others. More conscious. More responsible and available to love and to be love. But we cannot control history. Not our own or anybody else's.

    I tell myself that my task now in life is to go vertical. To accept myself and my real feelings. To listen to them. To act on them. To live by them. And to understand my life in terms of my own story, and nobody else's.

    Thank you. This is a process. And I am a work in process. Thank you for being there.

    I am looking at the clock. The birthday day will be over in almost 4 hours. I am very sad. Thirty is a momentous birthday. And this is sad.
  20. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I know how much you love him. I feel the same way about my son. but he doesn't deserve it. I wish I could change things.