Still hanging in there

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I've been reading many of the posts here lately. I don't always respond, but I want you each to know how much I appreciate your wisdom and caring for me and toward one another. And my prayers are with you.

    On Thanksgiving eve, my husband and I were driving to where our youngest son lives to spend Thanksgiving Day with him. On the way, my husband checked his spam folder for his text messages and Josh was texting, asking for food money. Anyway, I called him and he said he had paid the rent on his room but needed money for food. We told him that we would stop at the next Walmart and wire him money. We did so, sending $100. We just couldn't stand the thought of his going hungry.
    While away, I also ordered a couple of clothing items to help keep him warm, using the Walmart site to store thing.
    The items came in last weekend, and I noticed that they had been picked up. I was glad, thinking how much he would appreciate having a couple of warm things.
    Next thing I know, I'm getting FB messages from him, saying things like, "You stupid :censored2:, you got the wrong size." "You're a stupid bi**h."
    "I hate you." "I wish I could choke you right now." "You're selfish and stingy." "You've never done anything for me." I was pretty shaken up when I read those, and I realized that once again I walked right into it. Trying to "rescue" and ending up kicked in the face, and this time, I could really tell it had affected me in a bad way.

    So....I've made a decision not to try to contact him for awhile, not even on Christmas Day or on his 30th birthday, which is January 8. I'm just going to be silent and let him feel what it is to be truly alone, without his family. He does not care about us; we are nothing to him, other than a source of money or help with material things. It will be hard, and I will have moments when I will waver, but if I recall those messages, it will help me to stay firm.
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    This sad response is so typical. My heart hurts for you. I am brought to tears. I am so sorry.

    This shows the lack of empathy in our kids.

    We are a bank to Kay. And Santa Claus. That is all.

    It was not until Kay was 33 (this year) that we totally cut her off. It took us a long time to realize that she would always eat. Between food pantries, homeless meals (they faked homelessness until it happened) and dumpster diving (puke) they never did not eat. That's one thing I don't feel we have to worry about. They like to use it to get cash from us but I don't believe they are ever hungry. Most have few morals and would steal food before going hungry. Or panhandle for funds. Kay used to make lots panhanding. She laughed about it. "People are so stupid."

    At any rate, may you find solutions that bring you peace. May you take care of yourself well. May God sit on your shoulder. We are here for you.
  3. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    I could have written your post. This has happened to me before. It is painful to be treated like that.

    It is so hard for us to know our adult children manipulate us. We do what we have to do to appease our own pain but eventually we get stronger and can handle the pain within us when we don’t fall prey to their demands.
    The more you can do this the more able you can handle the next battle.
    My 30 yr old for years got money, rent, gas food etc from me. In August when I finally reached my own personal threshold of insults, verbal and threatened physical abuse from him I ceased all communication with him. I have not heard from him since. Somehow he has managed. I’m sure it’s not perfect for him but it just goes to show they will survive and quite possibly all the discomfort they go through is part of the growth to move out of their situations.
    Wishing you God’s strength and peace.
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  4. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Anybody knows you can exchange the clothes for another size. This proves he doesn't want to help himself. He wants everyone else to join in his misery.
  5. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Beta, I am not sure our Difficult Child are capable. My Difficult Child is only kind until I give in. Then it's delusional rants. I don't give in anymore. Nothing has changed in regards to her, but I am doing better. I can't remember if you have read the article on detachment, but I found it extremely helpful. I can't remember who said this, but she said she does better when she changes the word detachment into disentanglement. I think of it as emotional detachment, meaning I try to only communicate rational facts and not get caught up on emotions. I am not completely there, but I am so much better. I am not sure if I have this book in my signature line, but it is one I found helpful, as it is about changing me, and it is scripture based.

    Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
    by Dr, Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Beta, that is very sad to read. I am sorry you got that response to your kindness and concern.

    Some years ago my son found himself in Colorado in winter. Not only was he ill prepared for living in a cold climate, he also made a spur of the moment decision to make a long-distance hike at altitude. I could tell he was drinking and not making prudent decisions and begged him not to go, but he belligerently insisted that he and his buddy could handle it. He really had me emotionally on the ropes about the danger he was putting himself in, and I asked him if I could at least send him some winter gear before he left.

    In a panic I went out and bought a new winter-rated sleeping bag, new parka, "camping" type food,
    etc., then added whatever winter gear I found in storage and shipped it all to him.

    He never went on the hike. I don't think he was ever serious about doing it. But I'll never forget his response when he picked up the package. Not one word about the new equipment, or the thought that went into it, or the panic he'd caused for no reason. All he said was what a "[email protected]$$" I was for sending him two left-handed gloves.

    I totally agree with your decision to not contact him for awhile. Regardless of how it affects him, I think the important thing is how it affects you. You don't ever deserve to be verbally battered, abused or belittled. And sadly, I think another lesson in all of this is that most of the time our difficult children just want cold, hard cash, to the point where they actually resent us when we try to show them motherly care.
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  7. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    So many times i have bought things for my son and he looses them leaves them somewhere or i find them stuffed in a corner. They don't really care because they will just ask for more. You did not deserve that response. I would not give him anything for quite a while if ever. If he asks for things a simple but emphatic no!.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is it in a nutshell.
    I hope that you don't ever again subject yourself to this treatment. I am so very sad that he did this to you.
    Beta. This I fear. You love him. You don't want him to suffer. And you surely do not want him to feel truly alone. I don't think you can tolerate inflicting this on him. You're working against your very nature here. It's not realistic. You will suffer with this.

    I'm not saying to have contact. That you can't do. It's tearing you apart and it's not good for him. What I'm saying here is to tell yourself you want him to feel what it is to be all alone without family, is to fool yourself and to set yourself up. Because it's not true Beta. I don't believe you could ever sustain such a feeling. Right now you're very hurt and angry. This will soon pass. But that does not mean you should put yourself in a position for him to again do this.

    I agree with the silence. Yes. For two reasons. One, he has told you in every which way he can't bear contact, without falling apart and treating you with unthinkable cruelty. Two, because he is treating you with unthinkable cruelty. You can't anymore allow that. It's happened too many times to risk it again without some clear and sustained evidence that he won't do it.
    I know that it feels this way. But I don't believe he treats you this way because you are nothing to him. I believe this behavior on his part is motivated by something else.

    Why inflict pain on yourself? You don't know what will come in the future. You have no way of knowing his true feelings about you. Is it not enough to accept that he is treating you badly and that that can't be allowed?

    I recognize that you may be trying to harden your heart, to survive this, but face it Beta: You have a soft and kind heart. It won't work. I think the idea about the Townsend and Cloud Boundaries Book is great. I have it here. We can read it together.
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  9. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Beta, my heart is breaking for you right now. I think that you do need to cut contact with him, at least for a little while. You need to give yourself a break. Maybe set a time limit for yourself - perhaps a few weeks or even a few months - and then reassess how you feel. I’m so sorry you are going through this.
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you all. I read and re-read through each response, and it brings me comfort to know that there are others who care enough and understand well enough to take a moment to respond.
    Thank you Busy. I know with Kay you have been through the ringer, and I admire how you have come through it, unhardened in heart, but yet wiser now about her true nature.
    Yes, a lot of what we do does come from a need to withstall the pain within us and make US feel better. As I grow stronger in my ability to detach (or disentangle), this will become less of an emotional need and I will be able to just accept things as they are and live with the pain (because I don't believe the pain ever goes away because our love for them never goes away). We just learn to live with it, in spite of it.

    Wow, this sounds so similar to what I just experienced, except you went to WAY more trouble than I did, only to get abuse in the end. I'm so sorry that you experienced this. You are obviously a caring Mom.

    Copa, you are right---it is hard to sustain that type of anger. I don't want to harden my heart--I just want to be strong enough to do what is right and best for him and for myself and not give in to the manipulations and FOG. I guess what I meant was I hope that being alone might just wake him up to the reality of his life and what he has done, in the hope that it might shock him and move him toward getting help and toward wanting to have a relationship with his family. But I know that is a long shot. And yes, I can't know his true feelings or the motivation behind what he says to us, and I agree with you--he has told me, in his own way, over and over, that he cannot have contact with me and not be abusive and malicious, and at this point, I am so emotionally bruised that I can't have contact with him, at least for awhile. I need to heal for awhile.

    I'm wondering if I might just have that Townsend and Cloud book--the title sounds familiar so I will take a look through our boxes of packed books and see if I might have that already. I'll let you know if I find it. Another book I'm looking at right now is a book called "When Love Hurts," by Karla Downing.

    Thank you MissLulu, I am going to do just that--take a break. I am too emotionally battered right now to have any contact, and I can sense that there has been trauma inflicted on myself in a way that is dangerous and has to stop. Self-preservation is where I am at the moment.
  11. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Just to let you all know--my sister sent me a copy of a FB message Josh had written on our younger son's FB page, and it was full of abuse and rants just like he sends us. I was so angry and so shocked that he would do that to his brother. I contacted our younger son and let him know, and he deleted the post and took down the FB page. Come to find out--Josh has been sending him abusive texts for some time, but he just ignores them and tries not to let them bother him. I just hurt for him though because Josh told him that J is no longer his brother, that he's a "*******", "*****", and that my husband loves J because he's his WHITE son. It makes me sick what he has done to our family. All I can do is just keep praying for him. Only God can change this and even He has to have a willing heart in Josh to do it. God will not override Josh's free will. I just keep praying that God will change Josh's heart and that Josh will hear within his heart the truth he has been taught and what God is trying to say to him.
    We all like to believe in happy endings. And I'm not saying that things can't change and that Josh is lost to us forever. It's not the end of the story yet. But I also realize that not everything ends happily in life. Sometimes they just don't, and while I continue to pray and to hope, I also have to keep that in mind, as well.
  12. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Boundaries is a fantastic book. Although in my opinion anyone can benefit from it's wisdom, it has a Christian slant. But one can skip the religious part and just focus on the common sense part.

    I personally think that how we suffer and how much and if we can detach is individual,based a lot on who we are and how we tick. We are not all the same. Ditto for our disordered children. They think of us differently because they are not necessarily thinking right and they are different people from one another. I think the main reason they attack us so much is because they often are mad at the world and don't accept blame. Nobody but us would listen to their abuse. They need a willing target and I was willing for over a decade. That I listened to Kay's abuse and made her road easier may have made me feel better (in fact it did) but it hurt Kay. She learned that Mommy and Daddy would save the day with no expectations of her. And that made her not try at all. She would talk to us nicely sometimes, if we did her bidding, but she did not grow.

    I am not sure that cutting her off will help her grow but she has no choice but to figure out how to live a homeless by choice life now without our money. And so far she has. After buying houses, cars, paying rent and necessities we are broke and done with her eternal Christmas. Her son now lives with my other daughter. Thank God! Thank you, God.

    I want to recommend the book Codependent No More by Melody Beatty. It was the first helpful book that set me on a new mindset and path. I am very codependent. I need to fix everyone. I love. Or once needed to. Now I know I can't.

    A lot of what we do for them is really to calm our hearts. That's okay as long as we find more peace doing so. I did not feel peaceful watching Kay spoil every opportunity she was given, but it felt worse not to help her. I am Mom.

    Once I truly was able to let go I saw how little she cared for us and how useless all our help had been. She needs to do for herself at whatever level that is.

    I can not stay alive forever to pick her up.

    On the plus side, my husband and I feel healthier now than we did while overly involved with Kay and knowing Jaden is safe. So maybe we can be here longer for our loved ones who are kind to us. Kay was literally killing us. Stress causes diseases and anything you already have can get worse.

    All of my friends, be good to yourself in whatever way works. That may be different for us all. God bless you!
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I see the whole purpose of this site as this. Is growing to the point where we are the "story."

    We've hijacked ourselves, Beta. Our sons haven't done it to us. They are just going on their way. We do it to ourselves. There is a way to learn to not do it so much. I think that's what we coach each other to do here. There are some of us who do it more easily. Others, like me, not so much.

    You're right. Sometimes our kids can't or don't change. But we can. If we begin to see the important story as us, about us. Then there is a great deal of hope.

    As I type this I begin to panic, in the pit of my stomach, because I begin to feel that if I am able to separate from my son, to really let his chaos go, that I will lose him. This is an unhealthy attachment on my part. I can let go of my son, and let him live as he chooses, and is able, without losing anything. In fact it would be a win-win. This fear is in me, about me, about myself. It's not fair to my son to make him carry it.

    In some sense I wonder if Josh senses something like this with you too. And that's part of his anger.

    Is it enmeshment I feel? I think so.

    You and I are very alike, Beta, I think. Too much I experience what's happening with my son as "me" without sufficient boundary. It's like I can't be happy, feel contentment or safety or self-control, or do nice things for myself, let alone feel my life has been worthwhile and good, as long as I believe or fear that my son is not safe and thriving. This is a boundary issue.

    Does any of this resonate?
  14. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    in my opinion the purpose of this forum is whatever we need it to be. I need it for venting and to stay the path. We use it for what serves us and we all are different.

    For us with other kids besides a disordered child, this forum and all other help was a reality check. I needed to stop making Kay my whole life. That was so unfair toy other loved ones! My husband, my other kids, my extended family, myself....I learned to let go the best I could from the one who took up ALL my time and to live in balance.

    It IS about me too. But it is about my other loved ones just as much.

    This fear of Kay kept my husband and me from taking bold steps to get Jaden because of how afraid we were of upsetting Kay and also our fear that she would harm us. Jaden needed us. Now he has us. For me my recovery is and was about stopping the fear that caused my own poor decisions and put Kay's welfare in the center of my world.

    I think until we lose the future fear we are unable to think about what is best for us, them and, for those of us with many loved ones, them as well. Fear is something I needed to stop as my default emotion and this forum, books, self help, Al Anon and our therapist got me out of that "what if" fear.

    So for me I need you all to reinforce that I am not a bad person for detaching from one child. Now it definitely has helped ME but as I have a big family whom I love dearly, it helped them too.

    We have needs based on situation, emotional state and many factors and I feel that this forum can and does address many issues, including how to be good to us. How to change us. And address many other issues!

    Love and blessings to everybody here. Happy Sunday!!! May you find your way to wholeness.
  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    YES!!! This is so, so true of me also, and without your insight, I probably would not have been able to sift through my feelings and distill them so articulately. If I let go of Josh in the sense of disentangling myself, I am afraid I will lose him and lose a part of myself. I too experience my son's life as part of myself. And that is unhealthy and unfair to him. Thank you Copa.

  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Maybe it’s so hard to let go because we see it as abandoning those fallen parts of our.... selves, those deep wounded places where we have been hurt, or have made mistakes we are not proud of and cannot forgive ourselves, or forget. May be all of this pain we suffer with our wayward kids choices is meant for us to look inward, to face our own issues, to shine light upon what has been hidden inside, to peel back the layers and start to heal those places that have been plaguing us.
    All I know is that loving an addicted, mentally challenged adult child is ever so complicated and well, macabre. They know right where to poke us, to inflict hurt that rattles the core. I know I have written of this before and examined my own past in FOO, because hurt that deep connects to hurts covered over, buried.
    I can not focus on my two, God, the universe, higher power, whatever you wish to call it has chosen another path for me. But that is still all tangled up in the choices Tornado has made, and still makes and how those choices have hurt her own children. So, in a way I am back to square one on a generational level.
    It’s a trauma sandwich.
    I was reading about trauma and different states the overwhelming stress causes, fright, flight, fight and disassociation where the reaction is to “leave your body”.
    Disentanglement or detachment feels like that at first. It feels.... unnatural, floating away from that relationship mother, daughter. How does one even begin to separate from this? My child? Especially after years of loving and caring for them, then desperately trying everything to save them?
    Disassociation, sometimes I feel like that is what I have done with my two, because it hurts so badly to stay connected. I love them, but I have had to build up a wall to protect my heart, my mind, my self. Am I floating over the reality of my twos situations, trudging on, but not really dealing with the pain of it? Is it manifesting in other forms, headaches, loss of energy. Because I do show a brave front, but there is admittedly this underlying sadness at times. Or even defensiveness as others judge my detachment and non- involvement. “How can you let your daughters be homeless?”
    Or is that my inner consciousness chastising me? Am I battling with myself?
    Yes to all.
    I wax and wane between being resolute about no contact to lamenting my twos lifestyles and my disconnect.
    It is written that when a child is able to face their trauma as something that happened, that does not define them, they are able to begin to heal.
    Maybe the same holds true for us. What we have endured with our beloveds is traumatizing. Heart wrenching. It bloody hurts! We are shaken, mowed down by the sheer insanity of it. Who would have thought when holding them as youngsters, we would be at this juncture now? How absolutely earth shattering for a parent.
    Our kids make these choices but it doesn’t define us. Who we are, what steps we take to better our lives. What our own future looks like.
    Beta, for whatever reason your son is in a state of mind that is hurtful, cruel and unhealthy. It doesn’t mean that is forever. I think you have solid reason to take a break for now. For your sake and for his. The end of this story is not yet written. I struggle with that at times but forgive myself for that. Because this is hard. Who wouldn’t be going through the gamut of emotions. It is part of the journey to figure out what we are supposed to be learning.
    Sorry if I am all over the place.
    I am dealing with this storm in my brain. A fuzzy, feeling like a migraine aura. Over thinking. Over feeling. Is it the recent full moon or my weariness?
    Just me, I guess.
    Sending you prayers, hugs and love.
    The battle is real.
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  17. Naina

    Naina New Member

    I so understand. It is our nature to help them, but for whatever reason it is never enough. I believe for myself, somewhere deep down in my subconscious I feel I can fix things. (Intellectually, I know I can't) I also want so much to make life easier for her. So we keep trying and keep getting hurt. Maybe, just maybe we will be able to take lessons from each of these incidents so we can make life easier for us.

    Last Christmas I spent a lot of time buying gifts for my daughter. When Christmas came, she actually got upset, threw a fit about each and every thing I got her. I was so hurt. Our Christmases are not normal anyway, as no one wants to be around her. Now she has taken away my pleasure of gifting. Well I took a lesson from this. No gifts this year, just money.

    I hope you are able to find peace this Christmas dealing with your son. I wish us all that peace this season.
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Don't be too hard on yourself. We are genetically programmed to bond with our child as if they are part of ourselves, because they were. What would happen if we did not relate to those babies this way? That our sons are adopted changes nothing.

    Beta. Did you look for the Townsend and Cloud book? Not to nag....
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think this is so. Somebody used the phrase "trapped consciousness" to explain this to me. That the triggered pain that I feel when I react to the present on the basis of the past, are like bubbles that have never been mediated by G-d consciousness. I think 12 step philosophy teaches a spiritual path to achieve consciousness to not be or stay trapped in those deep wounded places.

    I keep wanting to go back to groups. I haven't yet. I will. Thank you for this thread, Ladies.
  20. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    As I struggled with my Difficult Child, I realized I had already lost her .Accepting anything less than respect, giving without anything in return, being viewed like a villain while housing and feeding her all meant I had already lost the relationship. Because I cannot stay in a " relationship" like this without losing myself. I am treating myself with disrespect, with disdain, and with contempt if I allow this treatment one more minute . Why would I want this to continue? Anything worth holding onto has been lost already.

    We put our foot down and we put it down hard . We knocked that overgrowth of ego down several notches. And the miracle of it is that it worked. We started to get respect, and cooperation. Now I have hope .

    I think fear of losing a relationship is an indication of enmeshment. We are so much stronger than we think we are. I have to practice self respect because NOBODY will respect me if I don't show that I respect myself. If I lose me, I have nothing. For me it's about my relationship with my Higher Power, realizing I get everything I need from my HP, and then my relationship with myself. It's the most important relationship in my life because I will be with myself the longest.
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