Texting CD Child Before Bed (And The Distress Of It)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by ChickPea, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Most nights I text my Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) before bed. We sometimes exchange brief messages, other times it is lengthy conversations. Sometimes she pours out her heart to me, others she blames me for everything that is wrong. Most often she is not sober.

    It takes a toll on me and comforts me at the same time. I like to know she is alive. I feel like it is a borderline co-dependent behavior (for me, and maybe for her).

    When she was young and she'd run off to the big city and stay with bad people for weeks at a time, a phone call or text was so precious. She's alive! She's not dead in a ditch or chained to a wall in some psycho's apartment! Thank goodness, I can go to sleep now.

    It's turned into habit for me, maybe.

    Because it oftentimes upsets me, my husband and I wonder it our late night messages are a good thing or a habit that needs breaking. I feel like I owe it to her in some ways (don't judge). Like she can't stay here, she can't take her kid at will, her siblings relationship with her is strained... she has very little right now. So the least I can do is "tuck her in at night" so to speak.

    But then I don't do that for my regular functioning children, so something seems amiss about it.

    Does anyone else have a similar "ritual" or check-in with their CD child?

    I think I might need to find a method that doesn't cause me as much distress.
  2. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Hi Chickpea,
    I can see how checking in with your child at the end of the day is comforting. You have experienced so much fear fear surrounding her that this feels soothing .

    The conversations that cause you distress are a sign that your needs , for peace, for comfort, for equanimity, are not being met with the current behaviors on your part.

    One change you could implement is to not have conversations when your daughter is impaired. She cannot hear you when she is not sober, and you will be upset by what she says at the same time. So it doesn't serve either one of you .

    I hear a sense of F.O.G. (fear, obligation, and guilt) in what you describe .That does not serve you or your daughter. Rather than feeling sorry for her, seek to empower her. You do that by detaching with love, and by realizing , for you, that her current situation is the sum total of the decisions she has made up until now .She has every power to change them when she is ready.

    I think, for me, I like to feel needed. I like to feel like I am the number one person in someone's life and that I am helping them unlike any other. So I need to ask myself how I can fill those needs within myself and for myself by myself.
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  3. RN0441

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

    Hi ChickPea

    I hear you when you say what you are doing is a double edged sword. I just hate those!

    Maybe you could limit it to calling her every other night if you find that would help you to better cope.

    I agree with Wise that when they are using they probably don't remember what was said/done.

    I always try to compromise with myself when I'm in these tough situations.

    Hugs. Hard stuff.
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  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I totally understand where you are coming from. The peace of mind knowing that your child is "alive" can bring a comfort to us.

    We each can only do what we can live with. When we start to recognize that something isn't quite right and it's causing us distress, we must do as you are doing now, questioning the validity of it.

    When my son was younger and out wondering the streets I had no way of knowing if he was alive. This was years before cell phones, tablets and social media were a available. I had to rely on him "showing up" or calling on that ancient "land line". Technology can be a good thing and it can also be a crutch. When technology caught up with my son and he had a tablet and joined FB, I found myself always checking his page to see what he was up to. I learned that it was not healthy for me as I would see things that made my skin crawl. For me, the only way I was able to really move on from "needing to know" if my son was alive was to really let go. It was not easy but it has allowed me a freedom and a peace that I would not have otherwise. I had to fully accept my worst fear, that my son could die and I would never know. As I write this, I don't know where my son is, if he's alive, in jail, or what he's doing. I will always love my son and I will always hope and pray that he is doing well but I can no longer exhaust myself emotionally worrying and wondering.

    Our adult children are just that, adults and they will live their lives the way they want to regardless of how we feel. The hard part for us as parents is to accept this reality but without acceptance we can stay stuck in the FOG.

    I think it's very healthy that you are questioning your nightly ritual of contacting your daughter. Yes, you are correct, it is a co-dependency. It may be time for you to start dialing it back a bit. Instead of every night perhaps every other night. Set some clear boundaries for yourself. Say for example, if you know she's drunk, then tell her "I don't want to talk to you when you are intoxicated, I love you, goodbye" and then turn off your phone. Or, you could tell her "I'm exhausted and need to get some sleep, I love you, goodbye" then turn off your phone.
    You have the power to limit what you are willing to put up with. Clear boundaries are a must. It can feel awkward in the beginning and even feel like a betrayal but it does get easier. I remember times when my son would call me from jail and as soon as he started dropping the "F" bomb and other cussing, I would warn him, "do not use that language or I'll hang up". If he said it again, yes, I would just hang up. There were times I would have to unplug the phone from the wall because he would try to call me back.

    We all love our difficult adult children but we also cannot allow them to hold our emotions hostage. Our lives matter too and we should all be living the very best lives we can. It's okay to be happy even if our children are miserable.

    ((HUGS)) to you........................
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I woke up early this morning, went out to make my coffee, looked up at the clock, and it was 2:30am. I do understand how nighttime brings vulnerability.

    I think it makes sense to figure out your motivations, like you say. How can you make a determination if these late night contacts meet your needs, unless you know what that need is. Are you "mothering" her (if so, is that for you or for her? if it's for you, is it to assuage guilt or to keep a connection); are you trying to reassure yourself that she's okay? Or are you trying to keep yourself okay? Is this making you feel weaker? Is it weakening to her, that is, making her into a baby?

    Also, I try to recognize what it is I aspire to, as opposed to what I fall into because I'm vulnerable, afraid and weak. I have to think about what I want for my son, and what I want for myself.

    Because I am frequently terrified, I will often act from this place, as opposed to strength. And when I am reactive due to fear, it tends to reinforce the fear.

    I am facing something quite difficult and scary with my son. I feel it is a choice point for me. Do I fall into the vat of terror and sink, risking losing myself to grief, or do I seek to act from the strengths in my life, my capacities to give to others and to contribute, defining myself based upon what I hope to be. Not by what I fear will engulf me and subsume everything I have wanted for myself and my child and for my life.

    I think these choices of ours are just that critical. We are not able to keep our children safe. But we can make choices that lead to a better chance that we survive and perhaps thrive. And we can strive to make choices that pull to our strengths and our children's strengths.
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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  6. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Ooops. It turned my C D C into something else! Ha.

    This is usually the time when she is impaired. She will say she's not, but after a bit I realize she is.
    You're right, the power to change is in her hands and hers only, and it is a F.O.G. situation!

    No, she doesn't. A couple times in the past week I've had to ask her to go back and read her own texts after saying some incredibly hurtful things (that I did not respond to).

    Goodness yes!
    I think I needed to hear this a bit. I've dialed back, but my F.O.G. (and habit - a habit I need to break) has kept me coming back since it's been my normal especially as of late. But it doesn't feel healthy. The things she's been saying aren't kind or respectful, and I don't need or want that. And when she's liquored up she says some awful things, forgetting them in the morning.

    Gosh, I'm so sorry for the pain and fear you must have had - and still do, I'm sure. It's always in the back of my mind when I hear sirens that it could be her.

    Copa, you are absolutely correct. My motivations seem to be out of fear, out of guilt at this point. If I want to tell her I love her, I should probably just do that and let it be and move on. I often text "I love you" or "goodnight" to my adult children, but not every night, and with the others it doesn't result in tirades.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think just telling her you love her is a very loving thing to do. I too will send my son a private message on FB to tell him I'm thinking about him, wishing him well and that I love him. Here's where I caution you, don't expect a response. If you get a "Love you too mom", cherish it but if you don't get a response at all, don't jump to the horrible "what if" game - accept it - breath deep and exhale..................
    Even though our adult children do not live the responsible lives we wish for them, they are still quite resilient and somehow manage just fine.
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  8. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Hi ChickPea, I have a ritual/check in with my daughter. We talk or text in the morning or talk and text in the evening so I hear from her about twice everyday. Since she is working so many hours I only see her on Sundays for a few hours.. I feel a bit disrespected because she comes over without taking a shower. If she would have missed one day it would be ok but it looks like many days of not showering. I keep telling myself that time is short and I should feel glad that she wants to see me at least once a week. My husband went to hug her good bye and said she did not smell good. This really bothers me since she was not raised like that..My daughter tells me that in Europe people only bathe once a week if that, I remind her that we do not live in Europe but when I did, I bathed everyday.
    I don't know how the boyfriend can take the deep funk. He is probably funky himself. I do believe he showers regularly, he thinks of himself as a pretty boy romeo type.

    I got off track, anyway I am always glad to know my daughter is alive. I sleep better knowing she is alive and I feel grateful that we can talk now without her being so ugly to me.
    My daughter does stress me when she is manic and has all kinds of health issues. She will tell me things to frighten me and I will tell her to pray about it. Years ago I would take her straight to the Dr office so I could feel relief..I spent thousands, and I mean thousands of dollars on her fake health issues. The trouble is in the frontal lobes. Not anywhere else.
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  9. DaisyC1234

    DaisyC1234 Member

    I try not to do this, but I honestly only do it to make sure the babies are ok. I kind of panic if I don't hear back within the hour or so...My mind tends to always think the worst...what if she left the gas on the stove on, what if one of those crazy people that lives in her apt complex kidnaped her and the babies are alone. My gosh the list goes on and on.

    I get why we do it and it does bring some comfort to know they are ok and I can sleep.
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  10. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Same. I feel your words.
  11. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Chick Pea, I know these feelings. I want to know - and I dont. Push-pull, push-pull. I am learning to let go and let God with love. As far as night phone calls, I had to put a stop to those several years ago because I have chronic migraine and an autoimmune disease that attacks my thyroid, both can greatly interfere with my sleep. I was having frequent flares with thyroiditis and migraines that last for days that are brought on by stress and poor sleep. Part of my sleep hygiene is to not do anything that is upsetting. My family all know now that my phone goes off at 9 p.m. whatever happens in the middle of the night will not be something I can prevent and it's better to tackle adversity with rest the next day.

    My daughter would always be drunk by night. She didnt remember, I put my own health at risk to no avail.

    Maybe you can find a different time? Like morning coffee, a way to start the day instead? Whatever you decide, I hope you can see the change logically. We get so entwined in our emotions as mothers. Fact is, though they are our children, they are adults.

    I am thinking of you.

    Love, light, and wishes for resolve for you
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  12. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Wow, darling! I'm impressed.

    Thanks for the well-wishes. Yesterday she messaged me and I kept it very short. Today she messaged telling me she was fine, just so I know. I have no idea if it was sarcasm or not.

    I have a bit of anxiety, honestly, because I worry. Like I said, even if she texts and she's drunk, I know she's texting (alive). However, I do like your idea of morning texting. Or.... late morning. Anytime before 2 PM is a crapshoot and at little like poking the bear, so to speak (hungover and/or still drunk).

    I have my phone on do not disturb at night (that was a HUGE step for me), so I need to remember that I did that for a reason.
  13. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I understand there isn't an optimal time to try to talk to our Difficult Child. I hope you can find something that helps you ease up on your need to know (realistically, I cant stop completely).

    I try to think of worry like this.

    When the worry thoughts arrive, I examine them. Can I use this thought as a way to initiate a helpful plan?

    Am I in a position to act on said plan?

    If I cant find anything productive, I have to let go. That is something I can do.

    My therapist, about 2 years ago now, helped me see that my daughters success or failure is not in my control. The end result will be determined by her. My journey to that end is the only thing I can control. I try as much as I can to make the rest of my short journey on this earth as joyful as possible for me and my family and friends. I am choosing not to allow myself to breakdown for their sake and mine.

    It's hard. I have been where you are. It didnt change anything. All I can do is wait for my Difficult Child to make a choice I can support. She knows the boundaries and chooses to keep drinking. Her body is showing great signs of distress. She has become a hypochondriac and refuses to acknowledge alcohol is causing all of her problems.

    Gosh, this was therapeutic for me.

    I will be thinking of you. Sending comforting thoughts.
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  14. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I opened up with this in therapy yesterday and he talked to me about letting some of this worry just go by like a passing car, and that 90% of what we worry about never comes to be. I'm trying imagine worry sliding off like an egg from a slick pan.
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  15. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    That is a great visualization. Examine your body response as you let go. I always feel my shoulders relax.
  16. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    All of these threads were therapeutic for me.

    hugs to all
  17. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    It's been helping.
    It's not my nature, and not what I'm always inclined to do, but it's helping.

    Today I looked at the snow and the grass peeking out and had a wonderful moment of joy. The worries weren't there. I was in the moment, more, and it felt great. Can't promise that is always where I will be, but I want for that to continue.

    My daughter and I haven't had a rancid conversation (like I'm accustomed to) in a couple days. I know it will pop up again, but for now I've just shut things off, letting it slide off.
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  18. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    There is a yoga pose called forward fold. You bend over at your hips . Keep your knees deeply bend so you can bring your torso close to your things. Hold on to each upper arm with the opposite hand crossing the arms in front. Let your head and neck dangle. Your back is rounded here. Imagine all your fears and worries sliding right off your back in this pose as you breathe deeply.
  19. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Just re-read this. Perfect. I will.

    I do this stretch a lot! I let my arms dangle and kind of shake them out. I will try this one to see how it feels.

    Thank you both for pointing out a body response. I'm so focused on my brain, I forget the body part!
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