Once Upon a Time

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by DazedandConfused, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I wanted to be the best mother ever.

    In fact, I was going to right all the wrongs of my upbringing, that of my parents, and the result would be healthy, happy children who would go out into the world and do good, and perhaps, great things even.

    I failed.


    My children were born sick, nearly died, and struggled with rage, depression, and drug use.

    They were molested and raped.

    Despite my best efforts.

    Most of their upbringing I felt confused, overwhelmed, angry, embarrassed, sad, and very depressed.

    Why?? I would ask myself. Why is it such a struggle? Why do they fight me? Why are they driven to make the awful choices they do? I want to guide and provide.


    "Good job, Mom!" "They were obviously raised right." "Well, of course they're great kids! Look what great role models for parents they had."

    I say nothing. I keep my dirty little parenting secrets private.

    Don't ask. Don't tell.

    "Don't blame yourself!" "Kids make their own choices!" "You did the best you could." "Us moms need to find someone to blame. Of course, it's always us!"

    Yeah, I know. I KNOW!

    Maybe there could have been something differently I could have done. In fact, I KNOW there was. I just didn't know it at the time. Too overwhelmed by their desperate needs.

    Although, it's not all bad. Daughter has seen the light at age 27.

    Saw a co-worker hurl a vicious verbal attack on her mother, devastating her and leaving her crying and sobbing. She saw herself in the role of the attacker.

    She didn't like the picture it painted. She apologized for everything.

    I apologized too. Though, I still tread carefully with her. I'm proud. She moved out of state and got a new job. Trying to make it on her own. It's been very tough and a financial struggle. Finding out the value of family and friends when their not so plentiful. There's growth in that. Maturity.

    I hope.

    Now for the bad news.

    The other kid.

    I mean adult. He's 22. He's not a typical adult male.

    At all. He looks 16 and has always struggled with appropriate behavior. Anger, mostly targeted at me. Very immature. Pothead too. Says he helps with his anxiety. I hate the smell. It's legal.

    He's why I'm writing this..whatever this is.

    "Son, why did you leave the window open?"

    Rude, nasty, and angry answer in response. It's always rude, nasty, and angry.

    I just don't get it.

    It's my fault he tells me for "messing with him".

    Be polite? That's "soft".

    He talks fast, arms waving. Argument ensues.I threaten to throw him out for the umteenth time. He slams the door. Don't see or hear him.

    I'm good with that.

    Then, just now, he walks in says, "I'm sorry". I tell him to sit. Let's talk.

    That went ok.

    I guess.

    For us.

    So hard to have a conversation.

    After 15 minutes, he leaves. I remained calm mostly. Cried a bit. He didn't like that.

    I just want peace.

    And for him to be a well-adjusted, functioning adult. He tells me he's one referral away from being fired from his job due to the inability to keep his angry mouth shut.


    I only all-to-well acquainted with it.

    My gut clenches. Worry. Lots of worries.

    Thanks for reading.
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  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    All of us have gone to the "I should have done things differently. I could have done better wall". We do the best we can with what we know at the time. None of us can predict the actions of others. Our children can choose their own path in life. So can we.

    A good friend told me years ago that we can't control some of the things that happen to us when we are children, but as adults it is our job to find a way to heal from those things. Your son must find a way to heal. He is using his anger to manipulate and control you.

    You threaten for the umpteenth time to throw him out. You don't. The game continues. He knows he can get away with his behavior. Do not threaten what you are not willing to follow through with. It gives him all the power and in turn he loses all respect for you. You become his doormat. Many of us have been where you are. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

    I wish you peace and love. This is not for the faint of heart. You are a surviivor. You overcame. You made a life for yourself. Your daughter is overcoming and finding a life for herself. This is what Warriors do. Polish your armor and soldier on.
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  3. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    I can relate to a lot of this, your son sounds a lot like mine. Since starting al anon is January I am learning to focus on myself and my own behavior and it is helping. I decided that I have a right to be happy no matter what my difficult kid is doing or not doing.
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  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hang in there!!

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  5. RN0441

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

    Sorry to hear this.

    I agree. He needs to be OUT on his own. He's an adult. Let him figure it out. You cannot let him disrespect you like that.

    I had a horrible childhood but I did not grow up to be a mean and angry person.

    We all make choices every day of who we want to be and how WE want to live our life. It's not on you.

    Be good to yourself. Keep swimming.
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  6. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Thank you EM!
  7. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I have come to the conclusion there isn't anything we could have done differently. We just wish there was. We would rather blame ourselves than our messed up kid. It is hard to look back and see how adorable they were and now what they have become. When we saw ours starting to struggle with right and wrong and hanging with some less than desirable people we tried to redirect. When he was 16, I even went to so far as to drive him to my sisters 3 states away and take his phone. I left him with them for the summer. His uncle is a police detective. I was hoping that would make some kind of impression. It did.for a little bit. We offered counseling (you can lead a horse to water...) that was refused. He made it through high school, with me standing over him. He would do his homework and not hand it in! He would take the state tests (actually read and answer) always tested as accelerated, smirked and still didn't hand in his homework. Was fantastic baseball player, 11th grade--quit. No talking to him about it. Anything he thought we wanted him to do he purposefully didn't.
    I think many feel their kid is messed up because financially (as a family) they struggled. We have had no struggles there and yet....still a messed up kid. we never paid him off to do things. never bought him a car, phone etc..he had to earn what he got that were luxuries. Still he has no financial sense. Or he does and doesn't care. He is out of our house now. Living with 2 other guys. spending money he doesn't have. His mail still comes here. I don't open it. I tell him it's here and he picks it up (I have a spot to put it for him, I refuse to work my schedule around when he may or may not show up) I don't know how he is going to pay the cc bills he is racking up..the banks keep sending him more cards.
    Sorry for the long post..
    I just want to show you the craziness and re-iterate. it's NOT your fault.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have always always thought our kids are wired more from biology than nurture. Ask adoptive parents like me who met their child's birthparents. If we divorced a bad man that still gives our child fifty percent of the bad man's DNA. This is why I only had one biological child. I shuddered at the mental illness, meanness and hurtfulness of my birthfamily. And Bart has some of their issues. I didn't want to have my DNA spread any more.

    Now that is simplistic. I loved kids and always wanted to adopt hard to place children. But this fueled it along. Although adopted kids carry other DNA that may not be great the kids were already here. I didn't want to deliberately do it again with my own DNA. My sister's kids except for possibly one, seems okay but I don't know them. I am glad I made the decision made. I digress...

    Nurture matters. Both Sonic and Jumper have addiction in their genes from birthparents but neither abused drugs. But I call it a lot of luck. The.potential was there and they chose not to test it. I am grateful. The odds would not have been good. I honor them. I don't think this was because of me. The kudos go to them, not me. Or their amazing father. They did it, not us.

    Our kids come into contact with much more than us....peers are more powerful than.us by age 14. We can't compete with peer pressure. That is where their major influence comes from before they get into trouble. None of us taught our kids the values of messing up and using drugs.it is peers or a girlfriend much more powerful to.than we become. Unless we beat or abused them in other ways what happened when.they were ten isn't why they are off the rails at 18. Many kids have horrificc childhoods for real and dont turn in.to crimimals.

    And many kids from great homes go wrong.. Wealth is a.nonfactor. I go back to thinking that alot of it is DNA. Impulsivity. Mental illness. Personality disorders. Lack of empathy. Recklessness (I feel this is worst of all).I believe all this is inherited. If our kids get handed challenging DNA it is much harder. But not a given. There is plenty of help.

    In my case Bart was not impulsive or reckless, only difficult, so it kept him from being a criminal. Sonic and Jumper we're laced with the addiction gene. In fact Jumper had to take the MMPI Personality test before getting hired as a correction officer at the jail. This is an 800 or so questionaire test (I took it twice) that is the closest to figuring out who you are than any known test. There are even lie questions to test of you are being honest in your answers.
    Jumpers test showed no problems at all except a risk of becoming an addict. She doesn't use and only drinks here and there. She says she never smoked pot. IIbelieve her
    She doesn't like and she knows we wouldnt care if she tried. Bu her birth father spent his life in prison for drug crimes, one with a gun. I thought that the test sniffed this out was amazing. Jumper has no history of substance abuse. But if she had been less like us or her grounded, amazing birthmother...more reckless....instead of working at the jail she could be in jail. She tells me that almost all the inmates are drug addicts. She said "If I had been different, they could be me."

    Do not blame yourself or what the adult child says is your fault they are adults whoake choices. Even most people with depression and anxiety, like me, don't choose to be criminals.

    We mother's need to take the pressure off ourselves. We taught them right. We gave tjem all we had, including our love. That's all we could have done. We can't jump inside of out adult.kids and force them to value what we taught them. They are separate people from us and peers, teachers, bad experiences, DNA, all shape their actions. We are one ofany forces in their lives.

    Do not feel guilty. You don't need that and it doesn't help them. We can't really help them if they don't want help
    We can offer suggestions we feel would help. We can take action for crinal behavior under our roof to save ourselves and sometes them too. But sometimes we can only save us. It is up to them. We are NOT the reason they choose to get into trouble and we also can't fix them.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    First, I'm so very grateful to everyone that took the time to respond to my post. I was feeling so very low when I wrote that.

    So much wisdom here. I knew there would be. This place is why I have a modicum of sanity after weathering so many stormy years of raising difficult children. Daughter drove me here on my hands and knees when she was 12.

    12?! She's 27 now! After I wrote that post, it occurred to me that I needed to let her know how happy I am that we are rebuilding our relationship and that I loved her. I've worn thick emotional armor for many, many years. It wasn't easy to do that. In the past, she's been vocal about not needing or wanting my love. She tearfully apologized for all those times she said (yelled) that to me. I eventually heard back from her and she expressed how much she needed that after a very stressful work day. She still struggles with depression and anxiety, but is happy to have her own little place where she can have some peace after a long work day.

    Things are ok right now with Son. My mother, his grandmother, got wind of how bad it's been with him. She blew. They're close, but she let him have it and said she needed some time away from him. He came to me to discuss why I told his Grandma. Why did I "bring her into it?" I did because everything she does for him is something she does for me. She tries to get through to him when I'm banging my bloody head on the wall. She would want to know that the Son I know is not the Son she knows.

    So, Son and I talked for a long while. It's wasn't easy. It never is talking to him. I listened a lot. I just let him go on and on. I did manage to get a few points across. He says I never say I'm proud. How can I when I'm under constant attack? I'm certainly not proud of that! He talks about how we have no relationship. Well, Son, whose fault is that?? I bring up some recent acts of kindness that I've done for him. No good deed goes unpunished when it comes to him.

    Then,out of the blue, he asks me if he can tell me that he loves me.

    Of course, you can.

    He walks over to me to hug me. Then, he begins to sob, uncontrollably, for 10 minutes. Numerous anxieties and worries. Wailing, even. I try to comfort and listen. I'm his mom.

    Oh, the crazy and maddening life I've had with this child.

    When things settle down, I talk about some of the things we used to do when he was young. I wasn't always horrible like you insist. We remember one specific place that we used to enjoy going to during the summer to get out of the heat, be with nature, hike, and just enjoy the beauty of it all. Remember that, Son? (Like before you called the cops on me when I took your cell phone or when you got suspended for fighting three days before your 8th grade promotion so you were excluded or when you humiliated me by refusing to have a picture taken with me at your high school graduation?)

    So, his birthday is only a couple of weeks away. Let's go back to that place, enjoy nature, and have dinner. Shall we bring Grandma? No, he says, let it just be us. Dad can come if he's not out of town.

    Ok. I'm down with that.

    Well, I'll see I suppose. I've been working, He's been working. I haven't seen much of him since that conversation. I'm generally knocked out in bed when he gets home.Does he need to be on his own? Yes.

    Have I threatened? Yes. A lot. I just want peace and I want him to be polite. Why don't I just do it? Because I'm afraid of what will happen to him. He's vulnerable and we live in a tough town with a high crime rate. So, I back off.

    Just so everyone knows, I AGREE that I have to live my own life despite of the choices my children make. I've like to believe I've done that. I went back to college in my 40s. My dream of earning a college degree realized. Since then, I've gotten my Masters and thinking about going back for a second. I love my very stressful job of being middle school educator. My spouse and I are going to Kauai in a few weeks. Flying first class too. What the heck? The leaky roof repair can wait, right?

    From the bottom of my heart, thank.you!
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  10. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    It sounds to me like maybe your son is coming around. He sounds soooo much like my son. I have a lot of resentments because of my sons behavior in the past, he was bound and determined not let me have any enjoyment out of his high school graduation or any other thing else that was supposed to be happy and fun. There are lots of other things too. But I have to let those go and move on, let him grow up at his own pace. I don’t want resentments to cause me to become estranged from him. The thought of my son reaching out to me and telling me he loves me brings me to tears. You don’t have to ask him to leave to live your best life. I mean eventually if they don’t go on their own I guess we have to.
  11. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    Unless of course living with them makes it impossible to be happy. I realized that I was a large contributor to the conflict that was making me so unhappy in my home with my son. As I have started change the way I respond to him he has started to change. I know that is not always the case and sometimes you just have to send them packing and I have boundaries that if he crosses them are deal breakers and he would have to leave. Right now it’s working out ok.
  12. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    I'm in tears reading you DaC. So many of the same experiences and feelings we have, like we could literally play musical shoes effortlessly because we're on this horrifically difficult journey that very few people understand. Fortunately, we're few. But we're also many. Too many. I wish none of us had to go through these things, and you put it in words so beautifully. Thank you for taking the time to write this. That sobbing embrace is the light at the end of my tunnel right now. I want that more than anything, and so happy that you got it. Even though I know that it comes with a bit of "we'll see". This is all so hard. Our hearts breaking ever so slowly because we have to be strong, alert, ready, on-guard all.the.time. But always with the hope that maybe, just maybe, they'll come back to us.

    I hope this is the beginning of the time of healing and reconnection for you and your children.
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    How wonderful.
    In the midst of the craziness I'm glad that you are finding time for yourself.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kauai is my favorite place on the planet......you so deserve this break, take advantage of the gorgeous garden isle and it's magical healing powers....

    I left for Kauai years ago when my daughter was completely off the rails.....it was a beautiful distraction from the insanity we parents deal with every day.....put your kids & their issues aside while you're there and enjoy every. single. moment. Aloha.