My heart is breaking

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LauraH, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Everything has been going so well for my son. I was even proud of the way he handled his relapse following the death of his half brother. Then today he drops a bombshell on me. He's going back to Chicago. He told me recently he had been in contact again with his ex, and my gut tells me that's a big part of his decision. He says his plan is to stay with a friend until he can get into a rehab up there...I'm not buying it. That may (or may not) be his intention but I don't see that panning out.

    I know in my heart he will end up back with the ex and be in the same situation and same dark hole he was in before we helped him get back to Florida.

    I'm not trying to talk him out of, because anything I could say would fall on deaf ears or get him in defensive mode so I'm not wasting my breath. But he knows how I feel. And if things go sour for him in Chicago this time, he's on his own...100%. I'm officially done.

    I'm praying he will change his mind but I don't see that happening. Once he gets on that plane back for Chicago I'm through. I will always pray for his wellbeing and that he will one day make better decisions. I will even be there if he needs someone to talk to. But I will not waste one minute of my time listening to his sob stories of how abusive the ex is (assuming he does end up back with him). I've heard it all before, and until he left Chicago it was the same story over and over and over. So I'm done with that also.

    I'm in shock and dismayed. I can't even allow myself to hope for the best at this point, because I see nothing good coming from this should he follow through with it. And knowing my son he will.
     
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I am sorry.

    These kids have no sense of cause and effect and if on drugs until they go to rehab and take it seriously they don't change. I am glad you are not trying to influence him. I think that makes the heart grow fonder. When we tried to get Kay to see that her relationship with Lee was abusive, they bonded together like Romeo and Juliet. They are married many years now and still fight at times. It isn't what we had hoped for her.

    Just do your best and cut the purse strings. Chicago is a big city. I am sure there are places for the domestically abused to get help if he wants help. You do not need to listen if it bothers you.

    God bless you. Again, I am sorry.
     
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  3. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    The purse strings were effectively cut after we paid his late rent at the sober living home. We essentially told him that was the last time we would give him any kind of significant help financially. He's missed a lot of work recently first because of his brother's death, then he had strep throat, and then when he had to evacuate because of Hurricane Dorian. I've been expecting him to ask for some help but he has not. I was proud of that, at least. But last night when we were talking I asked him about his finances and he said he didn't want to discuss it. That was a red flag to me and indicated that they are not good. (That could be a factor in his decision to go back to Chicago, but I don't know).

    When he first started calling me to cry about this crisis or that crisis in his relationship it bothered me because he was hurting, and thus I was hurting for him. But if you keep putting your hand on the hot stove and don't learn to stop doing it, I stop feeling sorry for the burns on your hand. You know? I'm especially glad now that I have whatever his inheritance might be locked up in a trust that he can't access without the express consent of the overseer, and completely at her discretion. At 30 if he hasn't learned to make wise and rational choices, I'm wondering if he ever will.

    I almost envy parents who can emotionally disown their children. I can and have pretty much "disowned" him when it comes to money. I've also in the past emotionally distanced myself from him but that was when he was abusive towards me. That's not the case any longer. Most of the time we get along very well, although he will forever be arrogant and condescending towards me. That's just a dynamic in our relationship that I have had to accept as an "it is what it is" kind of thing that will never change. But I know I can't shut off my emotions, love, caring, worry for him, and dreading "that call".

    I just need to take some time to process this new information, while praying it doesn't happen (but knowing it most likely will). He's also asked me not to tell anyone about this, which I agree it isn't my place to do so...except to this group. I do hope he will talk to his great aunt on his dad's side and his friend that was so instrumental in getting him into rehab this last time. They are as vested in his recovery as I am and I think it would be a slap in the face if he just blew them off and went about his blissful merry way. If he doesn't reach out to them, I probably will once he has left and let the chips fall where they may as far as our relationship goes.
     
  4. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Laura,

    My heart goes out to you. I don't know the specifics as to how long ago he went back to Florida but from just reading what you've said your son seems like he has in fact made some good decisions and has been a bit stronger weathering some very difficult circumstances.

    Is it possible that between now and the time he is planning on leaving that something could change to stop his plans? We as mothers tend to go into fright mode. We always think of the worst.

    When reading your story it immediately made me think of some advice given in a book on Radical Acceptance regarding "pausing".

    "Pausing enables us to accept what we are feeling, to notice what stories we're trapped in and not just react to the situation at hand. We allow space to feel our discomfort, restlessness and fears. When pausing and feeling the emotions we ask ourselves - What wants to be accepted?"

    It's also good to remember that you only have the power to change yourself. You can't change another person. You can't change his desire to go to Chicago or to enter rehab or not. When we try to change another person, we are out of control and our life becomes unmanageable. The real problem lies with how you are relating to the problem/your son's choices.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
     
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  5. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    That's what I'm praying. But he's been talking about going back to Chicago literally since the day he arrived last November. Eventually he stopped talking about it and I thought he had dropped that idea. Apparently I was wrong. Ironically when he told me today he said that he came here with the intention of staying for one year and then deciding if he wanted to stay here, go back to Chicago, or move to another location. It's only been 10 months (I guess that's close enough to a year for his purposes) and like I said he has been talking with the ex lately.

    I also feel like his finances are in the toilet after all the work he's missed...which happens frequently with him, and when it does happen he makes plans to move elsewhere rather than trying to find a way to fix them and more importantly a way to keep it from happening over and over.

    He did relapse shortly after his brother's death but I was under the impression that it was a one time deal and that he had doubled down on meetings, etc., to get back on track. Now I'm wondering if the relapse was more than he led me to believe.

    You're right, I can't change him. That's why I'm not putting in my two cents on his latest plans. He knows how I feel and repeating it now would only make him put distance between us. If I thought I could persuade him to change his mind I would try but my son is the kind who does what he wants and listens to pretty much no one who try to tell him otherwise...even though often he states regret for not listening after the fact.

    All I can do is pray he changes his mind while bracing myself for the eventuality that he will follow through with his plan.
     
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Laura

    I am sorry for this turn of events with your son. As I read what is going on I could not help but think this. I think real life (without drugs and alcohol) can be hard when one first gets sober. I think while they are in recovery homes, it's a false reality. There's support. There's intensive program. The structure shores them up. And then when they're out on their own, real life hits them. Work. Boredom. Same old. Same old.

    And people recovering from long stints on drugs don't necessary have the skills or the self-knowledge to make day to day life interesting They have not put into place meaningful goals. They may lack supportive friendships. They may not know who they are or what they like, without the drugs. This can be anxiety producing. And they may get sad.

    I think that this is why the flashy old life beckons. The old relationship may have been abusive and full of conflict, but there was an intensity that his present life may lack.

    It could also be that your son prefers Chicago, as a place to live. Maybe he feels he needs to be there in order to deal fully with recovery.

    But the thing is, what in the world can you do? This is his life. He's a grown man and he's choosing. That you know all of this doesn't make it hurt less.

    The possibility of relapse is always there. Until an alcoholic or drug addict faces that fully, recovery does not take. A mature person would recognize what you do, that her recovery would come first, before relationships, moves, or almost every other thing. Maybe he will grow into this person. I hope so.

    I guess the process of recovery involves this learning. Through stumbling. They say that people relapse multiple times before it "takes." Maybe that's the learning. To put recovering first.

    This does not mean that these 10 months have not served your son. Let's see what he does.

    I don't think this is as bad as you feel. He may continue to make good choices, despite this poor one. What he has learned and achieved, is still in there. Let's see.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  7. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member


    I pray you are right. I am fearing the worst because he has a poor track recovery-wise in Chicago. Most everyone he knows uses, deals, or both and I don't see him going back to Chicago and seeking out healthier relationships or ending the unhealthy ones. I also got a little angry when talking to my husband this evening, because he (a) called me from work when he was on a 5 minute break and no time to have a discussion (probably timed it on purpose) and (b) not knowing when or even for sure if he is going I get to carry this around with me for an indeterminate amount of time. And right now I am back to the feeling of weights hanging on my arms, shoulders, and neck just thinking about the what-ifs.

    This has been a good week, celebrating both mine and my husband's birthdays and it ends like this. Ironically, just last night when he called me both my husband and I told him how proud we are of the progress he's been making, even after a relapse. And now this. It's almost as if he doesn't want us to express pride or praise for him. (He actually has been like that since he was a kid. If I praised him for something positive he was doing, he would immediately reverse course and start doing the opposite)
     
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Laura

    I'm worried that I'm being insensitive. And I don't want to be. I can guess how you are feeling now. I feel bad for you and I don't want you to suffer.

    I keep being an optimist. And that's wrong. When you feel so badly. But I can't help it.

    The only thing I want to convey is this: the end of the story hasn't been written yet. All of us are in the position of being powerless over how our children decide to live their lives. That they will make a terrible choice, is always just around the corner. The only thing that can take away this roller coaster ride we take with them, is either their learning to decide better; or our work to get off their roller coaster. And letting them be on it...until they get sick of the twists and turns. And learn to decide better.
    He made the healthy choice to come to Florida. And then after making a series of poor choices after he arrived he turned this around.

    Recovery does not live in Florida. It lives in him. Maybe he doesn't want to live in Florida. Maybe he wants to live in Chicago. Maybe he has changed somewhat. Maybe when he goes back to Chicago and to the boyfriend, things will not be the same as he imagines. There is a lot nobody knows. That only comes from his living life.

    This is a test for you, too. What do you need to do to hang onto all of the positive changes you have made? What will help you locate yourself in YOU and not in your son. And back to the wonderful life you share with your husband.

    People change all of the time. The thing is we don't know. You don't know. I don't know. And your son doesn't know.

    I think you are very wise to play it cool with him. I know how hard it is. You have come such a long way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  9. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    You are not insensitive, and what you say is true. I'm just now processing this bombshell and also feeling a little angry over the timing of it. If anyone is insensitive, it is my son. He sitll seems to have no concept of how what he does and says affects others. He's 30 years old. Maybe he'll go to his grave having a spoiled 12 year old mentality that the only person of consequence in his world is himself. I'm actually grateful to be feeling anger. It's much better than feeling sorrow over something that might or might not come to pass.
     
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  10. Chasejazz

    Chasejazz Member

    Laura,
    I soooooo very much understand the concept of 'bombshells'. I think that's why I'd often say I felt shell-shocked!
    Glad to hear that you had a good birthday, and as for me, the "windows" between the (inevitably) bombshells are getting further and further apart. That's some relief, and it seems like it's been that way for you, too.
    My first thought, (reading your thread) was that the mother in me went on high alert: Chicago=cold weather vs. Florida, which I assume is relatively warm year round.
    I wonder about my son, who I assume is still living in his car, and how he will make it through the cold weather.
    Then, I hear my own thoughts.
    My son, your son. Cold weather or warm. Are they safe? Will they be?
    I, (perhaps we), do that. Project. Worry. Fret. It tears at my most basic fabric, oh yeah.
    I am learning to involve myself in the most productive things I can find in order to stay out of that disaster- anticipation thinking.
    I read. I do puzzles. I'm watching a really good Netflix series in the evenings. Since I'm retired, I'm taking a class. And I also go to therapy regularly to help me cope and not be in a constant realm of anxiety and sadness.
    It seems to be working and I hope you and your husband can find fun and interesting things to become involved in, that replace the all-consuming relationships we have had with our Difficult Kids. I hope things resolve in the most positive way they can, for both you and your son. I hope also, that the weekend is restful and you find a "window" of peace and relaxation. Please post as to how you are doing. Hopefully, the choice your son makes will be one that leads him down a good path. Take care.
     
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  11. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Shellshocked is exactly what I am feeling. On top of other shellshock involving unsavory drama-fraught neighbors in my building unwanted drama into our lives. Won't go into that...it looks like they are in the process of moving so the situation shouold be resolving itself.

    And the worry, fret, fearing the worst. It's difficult not to when faced with unknowns. It's made more difficult by the knowns of his first move to Chicago. Will history repeat itself? Will it be different for him this time? God only knows but my son has never seemed to learn from his mistakes and makes the same mistakes over and over. So my intuition tells me this time will be no different from the last. It will take some time to absorb and process this new development but eventually I'll go back to normal day to day living. I'm feeling despair now but one thing I like about myself is that I know it's temporary and I'll work through and out of this. My MO is to take a couple of days and dwell on it and then start going through the motions of routine activities until I am back in the swing of things. "Fake it till you make it."
     
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am very sorry to hear this, CJ. I am so glad to hear that you are on track to tranquility, purpose, well-being and strength.
    What series are you watching? You and Laura are role models for me.
     
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  13. Deni D

    Deni D Member

    Laura, I'm so sorry to hear this about your son. I hope and pray no matter what he does it brings him closer to making the right decisions for himself in the future.

    I've had that shellshocked experience often myself. I think you are much better at working through it than I am, at least much quicker. I'm hoping if nothing else changes I will become like you in that regard. I know it's a waste of our lives and time to spin our minds and feelings around in circles over our adult children. It does nothing to change anything.
     
  14. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Maybe I've had more "experience". And I have an amazing husband who gives me the time I need to "grieve" (really in a way that's what it is) and doesn't mind if I let the house go for a few days while I'm wallowing. But don't let me fool you. I'm very mercurial during this process. One day (or minute) I'm angry, the next I'm weepy, the next I'm frozen with depression, the next I'm in denial, the next I'm accepting. I bounce around back and forth among what's basically the stages of grief until I'm feeling myself again. Then I'm essentially okay until something triggers one or more of those stages and I'm back in it for a time. But at least I'm aware of how I operate so I can deal with the situation and with myself accordingly...and my husband has the patience of job throughout the whole thing.

    I hope you can find a way of dealing with your own situation in the way that works best for you and that you have support from family, friends, and your community as you work through everything.
     
  15. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Wow, I never considered myself a role model. :::Swells with pride::: I used to focus on Criminal Minds but the last couple of seasons seemed a little far fetched even for them or they dragged a story line out until I started to lose interest and eventually lost interest in the series itself. I do watch a lot of old movies, mainly on TCM but also on Prime and even YouTube. Plus with Prime I've been doing a lot of binge watching old series I used to enjoy, like Law and Order SVU and The Waltons. And baseball! We have a streaming service that includes every single MLB game so I get to watch my Braves play whenever their schedule and mine coincide. Not sure what I'll do when baseball season is over...withdrawals...because other than the Olympics baseball is the only sport I really enjoy watching.

    I also go to Naranon meetings. I haven't been much this summer because I have a condition that makes my legs and feet swell and it's at its worst with the heat and humidity. I don't drive and it's difficult walking the four blocks to the meeting, so I told the leader I wouldn't be around much until things start to cool down. That and things have been going really well up until recently. If I could get there easily I would have gone anyway just to stay active in the group and offer help and advice when I could. I will probably go next week, Monday, come hell or high water. I'll take an Uber if I have to. Even though nothing's definite about my son's move and I'm not completely clear on the extent of his current drug use I still feel I need to be there right now.
     
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  16. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I figured this fact out and thought it may be helpful to some if I shared it.

    It's not just our troubled kids who are waiting games. Not at all.

    Life is a waiting game. From happiness to rough terrains. From birthday parties to a loved one, not necessarily our troubled child, getting ill. From life to death. Lessons God wants us to learn do not come easily but maybe He is preparing us to be better souls for when we are with Him in eternity. I think so. I have grown strong where once I was weak, at least regarding my daughter. And even if God is not in your life, you are still growing stronger. For yourself. And your strength matters. You matter.

    I do believe we are never given more than we can handle, even when we feel we can't do it anymore. We do! We are a battle tested, tough group.

    God bless and lets lot forget our inner strength. We have supports too, if we reach for them. We have Al Anon, therapy, church/temple, family, friends and one another right here. We are not alone unless we choose to be. And by being here we are choosing to hold out a weary hand.

    Reminder: There are online Al Anon groups!
     
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  17. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I was raised on that! And I believe it, even on the days I have to remind myself of that fact and sometimes question it. Also "let go and let God." Because at the end of the day we don't have the control, even over our own lives, that we like to think we do. I don't know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.

    Thank you for a powerful and comforting reminder that I sometimes overlook.
     
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  18. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I was raised on it but did not always agree after Kay became my beloved daughter. Yet here we are,a, an intact family, surviving Kay and learning things we never would have known about without her.

    I gained in compassion big time. Like most ignorant people who never faced this degree of dysfunction, I always felt that good loving.parents raise like children. I sure learned that THAT isn't always so! Now I have deep compassion both for struggling parents and struggling people.

    Nothing we survive is ever a total wash, even if it breaks our hearts.
     
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  19. Chasejazz

    Chasejazz Member

    I watch "Call The Midwife" on Netflix.
    It's a BBC-Netflix Original Series about love, life, motherhood and families.
    It's has a wonderful, thought-provoking cast and the women, with or without their men, meet the challenges of motherhood -- from giving birth to raising families -- with the help of the London Midwifery, under the NHS, and the nuns of Nonnatus House, starting from the early 30s to the 1970s. All the stories and characters are based on real people and true events...
    It's one of the best shows I've watched this year! Might check it out.....
    Well, ttfn. I'm painting my guest room.
    Sea Foam Green, while is actually a pale aqua, but anyways.... have a great Saturday all! ♡

    Sometimes only when bonds are tested do we understand their strength… we can step into the future, blessed and stronger than before because when faced with change our love held
    fast and didn’t break.
    - Call The Midwife
     
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  20. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I am a bit confused. You said he relapsed after the death of his brother, and that it was a one time deal and he was back to meetings. Then why would he say that he will move to Chicago and get into a rehab there? Why would he need rehab if the relapse was short lived and he is back to meetings?

    It makes me wonder whether he is using and that is why he wants to go back to Chicago where the using friends are, where he is not under your observation/guidance, and where the ex is (with whom he probably used?). What drugs does he do?

    Does he have a sponsor? Attend meetings regularly? As a member of AA (and NA when I started my sobriety in 1991) , I can tell you that one time relapse for someone relatively new in the program is highly unlikely. Do you go to Al-Anon?

    His financial situation would also be bad if he was still using .

    Just some thoughts .I know you are worried sick and I would be as well. The more you learn to work on you ,the more helpful in a mentally healthy way you can be. Cutting the purse strings is a great first step.