Just another day, should have updated before it got this bad in my head

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Deni D, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I’m coping, as best I can.

    Every year for too many years now I make it though Thanksgiving, then Christmas but when my birthday hits this merry go round with my son gets to me way too much. Why my birthday and not his? I don’t know. I guess it could be because I reflect on how I would like things to be too much, rather than accept what really is. I guess it could be because my birthday is relatively close to the holidays I work so hard just getting through, I don’t know.

    I had a really nice birthday this year, actually birthday week, actually great birthday. I went out to dinner a few times with friends down in the south east US where I’m so grateful and lucky to be right now. I even got a few birthday presents this year, not what I’m used to. The love from my friends and family this year has been so much more than I had in years gone by. Usually I was otherwise occupied with work and responsibilities, not that it bothered me to not even notice my birthday myself in the past, it’s just this year has been great. Maybe the love from everyone else is making me notice the lack from my son, I don’t know, haven’t figured it out ~ yet. This was a milestone birthday for me, I no longer have to pay a grand a month for medical insurance that includes nothing but catastrophic coverage. Yay on the insurance cost reduction.

    And then there is this stuff with my son. I know my birthday is not on his radar, last thing he would think of, I would be very surprised if he knew when my birthday is. But anyway the day before my birthday I got the “I’m so sorry I’m a dic*head” call. And I knew it would shortly be followed by what I describe as the “take down” call to tell me how verbally abusive I am, what a pathological liar I am, how I’m narcissistic, and mentally ill and such. This has been his routine in the past year, every few months but increasing as of late. I don’t know if he’s setting me up on purpose hoping his “take down” has more power or if he just so messed up in the head he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I know logically it is not about me, and actually about himself. He accurately says so many things that apply to him and not all to me, but it doesn’t help knowing that.

    So he called 8 times on my birthday. I did not answer and then late in the evening I called him back because I’ve been trying to be there for him if and when he decides to get help for himself. There is no one else in his life to fulfill this role so I’m it, for as long as I can stand it anyway. I got to hear him in tears, seemingly listening to me about the need for him to go back on medication, only to flip into a different person, amazingly different person, attempting to take me apart with his typical verbal assaults. I let it go on until I knew he wouldn’t come out of it and then told him I hoped tomorrow would be better for him and told him I had do go and hung up on him. That’s been my new normal.

    I get it, get that he needs serious mental health help. I also get it that with me being assigned by him as his villain he will not listen to me. I handed it over to God, again, knowing there’s nothing I can do. But this is very wearing.

    And then my most sensitive sibling, one of four, called me this afternoon and I found myself unloading on him about this situation with my son, again. He was his usual self, telling me how difficult it must be and telling me he hopes my son finds a way to taking care of himself and such all the while not saying one bad thing about my son. He was the best one of my siblings I could do this with but I felt guilty unloading on him because as empathetic as he is he has no idea what it’s about. He has no experience with this kind of behavior, we do not have mental illness in my family. I know I made him feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to do that to anyone, least of all him. Later, when I saw an incoming call from another one of my brother’s, I didn’t answer it. I didn’t want to do the same thing to him, although I know what he would say. He would tell me to write my son out of my life and have nothing to do with him, as he has done in the past, and has told me he has witnessed all I have done for my son growing up. I have a strong feeling the first brother called the second one to tell him of the current situation because he was worried.

    I have no one in my “real time” life who can relate to this kind of stuff. Not my significant other, he’s very stoic and non-responsive to emotional issues. None of my friends, they have “normal” children or no children and just can’t relate even though I know they care and know how much of a toll my son takes on me. Not even the young woman who is like a sister to him can relate, she’s so angry with him she hasn’t been speaking to him for a while now.

    Tell me to breath, tell me to have patience, tell me whatever I should really hear right now. I think I just need a listening ear from you who understand right now. Thanks.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry. Venting here is good. Sometimes that is all we have. And boundaries... It sounds like you have appropriate boundaries, but your heart still hurts.

    I go to AlAnon once a week. My child is younger, and isn't in addiction now, but she and her sister both have problems and are my "difficult children". And the AlAnon 12 steps works for that, too! It's all out or our control...so the 12 steps, the serenity prayer, and being in fellowship with others helps me cope. Then I don't vent to others who don't have a clue.

  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Awww, Deni, just wanted to let you I’m reading along. How strong and kind you are!
  4. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Deni, so sorry for how you're feeling.

    We grieve the loss of what we wish we had and that is a process to get through. It hurts like heck, I get it. But I would suggest you pray, read, meditate, sing, enjoy something that will get your mind in a different space. I've read and believe it to be true that we have control over our thoughts. It's OK to stop dwelling morning, noon and night on your son. It doesn't mean you love him less. I sometimes think (out of our own warped guilt for the situation) we feel compelled to do that so that for our own selves it shows we are still caring and loving them when no one else appears to be.

    How crazy is that? Would you expect your son to be thinking about you 24/7? If so, how would he be productive and start taking care of himself, meeting new people, learning new things, dealing with life? Welp, I say the same goes for us.

    I feel like it wasn't one choice in our sons lives or our own for that matter, that got us to where we are right now. So, it will take more than one choice to continue getting better. One day at a time, ten minutes at a time...making choices that are right for you. If you get sickly and unable to take care of yourself because you are an emotional wreck, what good would you be to anyone, let alone yourself?

    Always, always remember that God is watching out for your son. He is not alone. It amazes me when I hear that God loves our children even more than we love them. Hard to believe, huh? But it's true. Rely on that, have faith and hope in that.

    Remember, our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions and our actions become our destiny.

    Start thinking thoughts that will cultivate into your destiny (and your sons)!

    Sending hugs!
  5. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I think most us of here are in the same boat. We don't know anyone that is in our situation and can really relate to what WE are going through. They end up thinking our adult child is a villain or worse. It's only because they care for us and want to protect us. It doesn't really help us at all. Just makes it all more confusing. At least that is how I felt.

    I agree with the others. Come here to vent and get advice. Find a church that has a women's group. I did that and wow it is tremendous and I only wish I had that when I was in the thick of things. Even though it seems the worst it behind us with our son (thank GOD really) it still helps me a lot and I am able to hopefully give support to others. And oh, many in my group have had or are having addiction issues with their children so they get it.

    Do whatever you need to do to make yourself be okay. Take care of you.
  6. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    "I let it go on until I knew he wouldn’t come out of it and then told him I hoped tomorrow would be better for him and told him I had do go and hung up on him. That’s been my new normal.

    I get it, get that he needs serious mental health help. I also get it that with me being assigned by him as his villain he will not listen to me. I handed it over to God, again, knowing there’s nothing I can do. But this is very wearing."

    Sorry, not good at the reply thing. My Difficult Child daughter has done much of the same, however, since having support here to stick to the boundaries, the drunken attacks on me as her personal whipping post have diminished. She is getting better at not attacking me because I no longer allow it. I loved your response and have cataloged it in my brain. It was truthful, caring and to the point. I am so glad that is your new normal. My daughter needs detox and serious mental health help, but like your Difficult Child, she refuses to admit it. Says alcohol, adderall, and xanax are the only way she can cope. Refuses to accept those are the very things that are preventing her from getting better. She could very well be facing some serious health consequences if this latest lump thing is for real. She has cried wolf so many times it's difficult to know. What I have accepted is that it is up to her to get to the mammogram and other tests. She wants money for gas. She refuses to access the help she has locally, we live in another state. We can't make them do a darn thing. Most important for us is to accept that. Previously posted here and my mantra from Out of the Fog

    1. I didn’t cause it.
    2. I can’t cure it.
    3. I can’t control it.

    Hope that helps.
  7. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Thank you everyone.

    I've been a little bit hesitant about going to local meetings because on the AlAnon web site for my state it says it's only for family members of Alcoholics, and if you need support for family members with other issues go find an appropriate support group. My son's major issues are mental illness. I think in reality it would depend on the specific group, especially because of all of the recognition these days around Alcohol being a symptom and how many folks are dual diagnosed. I hunted around and found a support group that meets weekly about 45 mins from my house for family members of mentally ill people. I'm going to try that one first and then if it doesn't seem like a good fit I'm going to try AlAnon anyway, the closest group to my house is only 10 minutes away.

    Thanks Albi!

    So true, sometimes I loose faith, but I always get it back again.

    Also so true. I've been working on it, sometimes feels like I'm trying to turn a ship around with an outboard motor though.

    RN, thanks! Hearing about your son's progress gives me hope. Today I was also thinking about one particular church, not the same denomination of my official religion but one I've heard a lot of good things about. I don't know anyone too well who goes there though so I might take a couple of trips over to feel things out in the future.

    Blindsided thank you, you have been at this for much longer than I have, you are a real warrior.
    If I only had a magic wand.
  8. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Deni, I feel so alone in all of this too. No matter how hard people try, or how kind they are, unless they've had a child like one of ours, they simply don't know. Thank goodness we have each other.
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  9. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    It is amazing to me that i come to this site after being away mostly because of a setback and read exactly what i need to hear at that time. Boundaries are important i feel much better when i enforce my boundaies. Some i am good at enforcing and others not so much. I am basically a shy person and do not seek out groups but i am sure that if you can find one who you can relate to it would be helpful. I can relate very much to the battle of the medications. When it comes down to it we can't make that decision for them but we can refuse to accept the abuse their decision causes us. Hang in ther.
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  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Deni D, So sorry for your weariness and discouragement, especially on your birthday. People with normal children may try to understand, but they just can't. I'm glad you're going to find a support group or Al-Anon.

    Good reminders I needed to hear today too. I have to constantly remind myself that as much as I love Josh, God loves him far more. I cry out to Him all the time, that He will intervene and rescue. That's all we can do.
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  11. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Lulu ~ I'm sorry you are in the same head space as I am. And yes it is wonderful we have each other. I think I would have lost my mind by now if we didn't.

    Tried ~ I have had that happen often too. Especially with boundaries issues.

    Such a catch 22 with the medications. I know my son needs them, he might also, but even he decides to go back to taking them it's difficult to get them right. Especially without the support of a family member to help him through the adjustment period.

    Thanks Beta

    It truly is, we've seen and heard of others where it's happened. During these times I have to remind myself of that.

    The other night I got a lot of nasty text messages attacking my mental health, just gibberish. And then at 2am he sent a text calling me the C word. He's done this before, twice, and has been cut off for a while for it. I imagine it was a drunk text, but no matter, now he's cut off again. I messaged him back, considering that message, I will not respond to any contact from him for three months. Of course if there's some sort of medical emergency I will, but I wouldn't tell him that because then I know he would manufacture a medical emergency.

    He's a challenge.
  12. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I agree, and this is the place to vent because those on this site have real experience and empathy about the struggles those of us with difficult children face.

    When I am in pain and worried, I want reassurance and comfort, so over the years I would talk to relatives and friends. They care, but they haven't been in my shoes, and like with your relatives, they would tell me to cut contact or feel bad about my circumstances. I think also, that hearing all the awful things my kids did made them wary of any contact themselves.

    I also have come to realize that though my reaching out to others isn't true triangulation, I was always trying to win others' sympathy. More and more, I try to bring my concerns to this site, to a therapist, two a trusted friend who does not know my children, and to 12 step meetings.

    Regarding being worried about attending Alanon if your son isn't an alcoholic, but has other issues, you can still attend as long as it is an open meeting. Many people with alcohol or substance abuse addictions have co-occuring mental illness .The principles and steps of the program will still be effective for you. My son is an addict with mental health issues. I just speak of him in meetings as my qualifier (the person who led me to attend) and talk about the issues I am facing rather than about his specific disorder.

    Sending hugs.
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  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Deni

    I read your post and I hear how wonderful your life is going. How you have found dear friends, kind and good; a partner who does the best he can; loving brothers who care. I hear you open to the support and embrace of those around you, grateful for blessings, accepting of human frailty and limitation, and open to what is and what will be.

    Your son is your son. All of us wax and wane in our ability to endure. I think the important thing is to not be harsh on yourself; that you felt sadness and vulnerability in response to how your son treated you and acted on your birthday, who wouldn't? After opening up to all of the kindness and love that had come your way, your defenses had fallen. Of course you were unprepared for son's onslaught. But this says nothing about your strength and capacity, or the course you have chosen. These were tender moments, no more.

    I think every single one of us is isolated. In my own case, I don't want to talk to anybody about what has been going on with my child. Even professionals can't seem to take in what my experience is. Or what they say I find hurtful and insensitive. Or I'm not strong enough to accept their truth. Whatever it is, I choose to not open up with other people about what we've been going through. I scarcely feel the ability to open up to myself. I seem to just want to trudge on, feeling, seeing, hearing as little as I can. In sum, I hope you feel better. And I'm blad you posted.
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    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
  14. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I know right now my son is in a really bad state but if/when he starts to take care of his mental health I don't want people to stay away from him because they remember something I've said about him. I want him to be able to put the past in the past when he is able to move forward in life.

    This is a good point. I was kind of feeling if I went to one I would be being a bit deceptive.

    This is probably what happened, and seeing the huge difference between my relationships with everyone else from the one with my son.

    This makes me so sad for you. I've gone for long periods of time just kind of numb, numb to everything and everyone. It's not a good place to be. We have similar situations but with what I see as one key difference. While my son is so nasty and belligerent to me your son seems gentle and just lost. Both of us have chased our sons around trying desperately to get them to somewhat fit into society in hopes they will have a decent life. With one who is just seems lost and unable to function I can see how it would be harder to get a professional to understand. I can picture them telling you to just let your son fall and he will learn or to "tell" him to do something or another and expect he would listen to you. Neither of which is a solution with the mental capabilities our son's seem to have currently. I hope things look up for you soon.
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  15. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I find the best understanding from Al Anon and Nar Anon. These people are in the same place as we are. I can not imagine getting through this in a good way without outside help. I also did not find therapists to be unsympathetic. Maybe we need to pick and choose?

    Church helps us a lot too.

    These are resources we can choose in our recovery. I do not think we can reasonably ask our kids to get help if we won't. I also don't delude myself and feel that Kay follows our lead. The fact is, unless we enable her, she barely knows we are alive.

    Why is it just so easy to have relationships with my younger two yet my oldest does not seem to know we exist. It's so hurtful. Thus our decision to share our plight. For us it is a good decision. Everyone is different.

    Sending blessings again to all.
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  16. Denise2017

    Denise2017 Member

    Stay strong Deni. We are here thinking of you and praying for you. We are all trying to figure our situations out. Some of us are farther along the path than others.

    My 32 year old daughter is very much like your son. She is bipolar and I never know who I will be talking to from one moment to the next, because she changes from sweet to angry to blaming everything on me, in an instant. I can be as kind and helpful as possible and just get back insults and anger, all while she begs to live with me.

    I am online here reading, to avoid responding to her texts and to gain strength.

    Keep reading the posts Deni. We are all in tough situation and can take strength and advice form each other. I am probably not quoting Copabanana correctly, but she said something very insightful in a post to me—basically we have to accept the level of effort and willingness that our difficult young adults put into creating their own lives...I found that very insightful. Or as my husband has said, we can not let things outside our control, control us.

    One very helpful idea I have taken from this site is to create boundaries for ourselves, and provide resources for the difficult child. If they will accept them...

    I wish your strength, calm and peace.
  17. JMom

    JMom Active Member

    Happy Birthday!!!:notalone::group-hug::group-hug::group-hug::notalone::angel::angel::victorious:


  18. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I don't think we can reasonably ask our kids to do anything, because they are no longer our kids. Even if they were normally functioning it wouldn't be our business to suggest they do anything for themselves unless they asked our opinion. I guess what you are saying is all we can do is get healthier with accepting reality and keeping our boundaries in a strong and grounded way so that if and when they do want actual guidance from us we are able to provided it.

    Thanks Denise, this has been my life too. Such an immature way to live life as an adult. Anyone on the outside would think tantrums growing up got these adults what they wanted. And the name calling is just horrendous. My son seems to think the Jerry Springer show is the way people live their lives. Even with the trouble he's having with his mental health I'll never understand this person who speaks to me as if I live in a crazed half human world and this stuff is normal. I have my limits and calling me the C word is one of them. He's been informed that I will not communicate with him for 3 months now because of the last he did that, last week. I don't know if he's figured out each time he does it I go dark for an extra month. Who knows maybe 3's the charm, oye!

    This is certainly something I need to work on, I'm good with everyone else but those closest to me, but then aren't we all?

    Jmom ~ Thank you so much! That was very cute!