When the ‘good’ one falls off the rails

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Elsi, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I hope so. This is really shaking my faith right now. Because if it doesn’t - why did I put myself through so much pain for all those years? I’ve built my whole life around the assumption that my presence in their lives mattered. But what if it didn’t make any difference at all? If ALL THREE of them are going down this path anyway, what was it all for?

    I needed N to be my redeemed one. Maybe more than he needed it himself.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Love can encourage a person who is on the right track. But it cant stop an addict from using drugs. Wouldnt it be great if that worked?

    It is a pity that all three adult kids are struggling at the same time. I am sorry. That must be very hard.

    Addiction is forever but N stopped once for five years. He knows he can do it again. Sounds to me like somebody offered him drugs and he took them. A Co-worker maybe? Does he possibly have a girlfriend who may have brought him back to drugs? I know that is a distasteful thought but its common. Sounds to me like someone gave him something.

    No matter what, he has to fix it and hopefully he will.

    Do to their pasts I feel very strongly that all three of them desperately need therapy. Would N go for.marital therapy with his wife?

    Im sure the wife can get financial assistance and a food card and Medicaid if N leaves but I hope they can work it out.Crossing fingers, toes, eyes and praying.

    Big hugs...wish you, me and Copa could have that coffee right now. Pretend we are with you. In spirit we are.
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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Look Elsi. In the past couple weeks all 3 of the kids (not counting E in this group) made some positive choices.
    It is not fair to N to make him carry "redeemed." I like to think in terms of verbs, not adjectives. In terms of movement, not thingness. N is redeeming himself. Nobody is ever fully redeemed. We are always in process going somewhere, until we die, and only then do we ever become categorically one thing or another. Dead.
    It did. But they will be in process their entire lives. All of us deserve the opportunity to be weak, to err, to fail. Because this is how we grow. There is no other way.

    People like your kids, and I are all over the map because we lack adequate internal representations of ourselves as people who are deserving, worthwhile, lovable, etc. Except guess what? Your kids did get that through you. You are that in them. Their hope comes from you. You gave them that. But they will not stabilize it for awhile because they have to work through all of the other crap from living with their Dad 20 years. The :censored2:.
    First of all, you did not do it for a result. You did it because you loved them. And you were making decisions on the fly. Nobody will ever know if any of us did the right thing or not. Because that is not how real life is decided. You did the right thing. You always did. At great cost to yourself.
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  4. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thank you both. I wish we could all have that coffee too! I am going to sleep on all this. You’ve given me lots to think about. Copa, enjoy your movie!
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa you actually had a VERY highly successful life and never became a drug addict or lived on the streets. You are not like the kids who bring us here. Neither am I, abused or not. We have more control inside and make sure we are comfortable.

    We in my opinion can not compare ourselves to the kids here. We didnt have perfect parents but they didnt drink or take drugs while pregnant.

    Some of our adult kids had it way worsr than we did, although our families were NOT fun. These kids (not just these three but Sonic too) were born with problems due to birthmother drugging during pregnancy. This messes with the brain.

    Some of these poor adult kids have real physical brain damage, often minor, but it does influence behavior. Not everything has a psychological explanation. Especially if they were drug exposed.

    Ok, now lets go for that coffee....actually I think I'll take a HOT cocoa. Its been snowing all day in Wisconsin!! Ugh! Double ugh!!
  6. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I am rereading everyone’s words here above this morning. Thank you again. I,still really struggling with this, but as always you all are pulling me back from the brink.

    Yes, there is another woman. I’m honestly not sure which part I’m angrier with, the drinking or this! As far as I know it’s ‘just’ alcohol but who knows really. Alcohol alone is plenty of pain and chaos for mine though. None of them can just drink socially. (except E, who never drank before her 21st birthday and now drinks with her husband like a 50 year old couple - sedate wine tastings and the occasional artisanal beer. She watched what substance abuse did to her older siblings and took a hard turn the other direction. I’ve always told all my kids, ‘it’s great to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from other people’s mistakes!’ But she’s the only one thus far to take me up on this advice! The others all seem to need to make ALL the mistakes themselves.)

    If he leaves Y for this other woman I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it. Y has been nothing but good to him and FOR him. She doesn’t deserve this and I don’t want to lose her and the kids from my life because of his mistakes. Ok, now I’m back to being furious. Deep breath.

    They went three years ago when stress with the new baby and baby M’s serious health conditions put some cracks in their marriage. N was very young to take up so much responsibility at once with a wife, stepson and new baby - he was just 26 when they married. (Ok, I was younger, but still. Boys are different.) Having a baby with unexpected health problems was tough. and they married too fast. I didn’t even know he was dating until he called and said mom I met a girl we’re getting married next week. Still impulsive. But the therapy helped a lot then, and I’m hoping he will go again now. I told Y I would cover their copays.

    Thank you for this. I needed to hear that. You’re right.

    Yes. I am humbled by this. I am not perfect. I can’t ask him to be, especially with everything he has had to overcome in life.

    I’ve just spent so long with this narrative: if N can do it, the others can, too. There is hope.

    So seeing him fall again feels like losing all my hope, for all of them. It’s like the foundation of my hope has been swept out from under me. But you’re right, it’s not fair to make him that foundation. There is hope for each of them, all three of them, independently of each other.

    You’re absolutely right. I would not take back what I did, even knowing these outcomes. I loved them. I love them. And love is its own reason.

    True. I don’t think N was as drug exposed as S, and he did not bear the brunt of his dad’s anger as C did. But he was also probably somewhat exposed, and also traumatized as we all were by the chaos, drama and periodic violence in the household. N is bigger and more athletic and daring than C. When he hit his teenage years, he was the one to challenge his dad directly, and the one to step in when his dad got physical with me. I remember not long before his accident - he was planning to join the military and getting ready for basic training - we had a really, really bad scene. And N pulled his dad off me and got him in a headlock on the steps and was just screaming and crying in his face. ‘Don’t you ever touch her again. I love you dad but if you do that again I will take your f—ing face off. Do you understand? I love you but I will f—ing kill you.’ Tears streaming down his face. I’m crying writing this. What kind of memory is this for any young man to carry of his own father? What kind of damage does this do?

    And then, of course the accident, and the resulting trauma. Psychological and physical. It was very bad. A very long recovery. We had to start over again with potty training. With a 6 foot tall 19 year old. He grew up all over again in a period of 18 months. To this day I’m not sure how much was recovered and how much just had to be relearned from scratch. He never did regain memories of the time surrounding the accident, and his memories from after start about a year later. 12 weeks trauma unit, 8 months in patient rehab and recovery, months of outpatient daily treatment after. I didn’t think I would ever have him back. It’s really a miracle that he recovered enough to drive again, let alone do a complicated trade school program and apprenticeship. Learning new things is still HARD for him. And there is still a lot of psychic pain and trauma around the accident.

    I’m just so torn by all this. Between anger and compassion, understanding and bewilderment. I just want him to fix this and get back on track before he loses everything he’s worked so hard for.
  7. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    One thing I do know about you Elsi is that your life is not just about your kids. There's so much more to you than just Mom. Its easy to feel like a failure when our kids are struggling. But not only is their struggling not our failure but we're not failures because of one aspect of our lives.

    Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is lifelong and unpredictable. Impulse control is a common problem. Infidelity and sub abuse can be influenced by impulse control problems.

    Self-sabatage far more common to those of us with troubled backgrounds than known.

    Speaking as a 60+ person still influenced by childhood trauma, yes it can be lifelong.

    You don't need any of them to be redeemed. You need to be you. You are a loving person who demonstrates that by word and deed. What other people do with your love and kindness is beyond your control. It doesn't matter to what you did and continue to do.
  8. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    I had a wonderful role model for what an ex mother in law can be. You can and do love Y and grandkids. That won't change if there is a divorce. Your relationship with her won't change except in timing. You won't be able to see her at the same time as N. That's all that will change. Should she re-marry the same continues.
  9. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thank you, Smithmom. Wise words as always.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well, I think the drug exposure, however little is always significant. I took Sonic to one of the most progressive learning center/hospitals in the country for drug exposure in utero and learned a lot from them. For example, one alcohol binge can cause brain damage. And sometimes that one binge harms the developing fetus more than intermittant drugs/alcohol throughout a pregnancy harms a sibling. It depends on what part of the fetus is developing when the poison is sent through the fetus.

    The alcohol is more damaging than psychiatric trauma although both makes things even worse. But trauma can be healed. Brain damage cant be reversed.

    A fetus is delicate. Even smoking cigarettes affects it. Of course not like alcohol but itd best not to smoke. Or have wine on New Years, even one glass.

    I saw many affected kids waiting for appointments and a more hyper group of kids I never saw since.

    Most alcohol affected kids look like any other kids. The very worst have dysmorphic features and small stature and poor eyesight is a trait. Those little kids often wore glasses! Some were three years old.

    E was not drug exposed so she had a fair start in life. The others did not and may always struggle in various ways. They probably have a lower threshhold for pressure and frustration. Sonic gets frustrated far more easily than most.

    26 is not you g to marry eben for a boy. My daugjters fiance is 26, very mature, very responsible....of course he had not been exposed to drugs in utero.

    Hopefully N will get back on track! He has shown that ability to do so.
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  11. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thanks, SWOT. I hope so, too. I am still learning so much about the impacts of alcohol and drug exposure. I wish I'd had the internet available back when they were young! So many things it would have been helpful to know, and so many things I didn't even have the knowledge to look for or ask back then.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The only reason I knew is because we were adopting and I devoured every possible resource in books and adoption group about adopted children so I knew about drug exposure, attachment disorder and how many adopted kids are in therapy...a whopping 50 percent of kids in therapy are adopted.

    Your kids were unofficially adopted by you and lived the same horror show with birthmoher that most adopted kids lived. It is much the same. Father was not that involved early on. And he wasnt a good example. They have drug in utero damage, trauma and adoption like issues.

    Considering that, they are NOT going to be able to achieve as well as or regulate their emotions as well as or make constant good choices as well as E. This is not in your hands. It happened before you. It happened in the womb of birthmother. It happened when father was violent.

    You were there to save them from complete collapse, to soften the blow. You were and are the best thing that ever happened to them. But they didnt have E's advantages so they are not like E.

    That doesnt mean there is no hope. N has proven that he can function in spite of substance abuse in utero (amount unknown) and trauma. So its up to him to do it. Im betting this new girl introduced him to drinking again and alcoholism is as bad as any addiction. In fact benzos and alcohol require medical care to detox. That isnt the case with all drugs. I hope he starts over again. HE CAN!

    Back to what I learned, I have always been proactive and, although not a college graduate, loved to learn, especially about things that would impact my own life. So I maybe knew more than adoptive parents that did not do research.

    Then after we adopted Sonic we had him seen at this amazing medical center for drug exposed children. Thats how I know that so many struggling drug exposed in utero adults are not doing well because of birth insult, not just psychological factors. We can TRY to say it is psychological and not physical due to brain insult, but that assumption usually falls short. It is not the whole answer so our adult kids keep trying and failing or they give up because its too hard or they cant. Or all of the above.

    I think helping these kids to get adult services, including SSI, is a good step. Many of them CAN make it with some adult supports but we are too busy looking for psychological reasons...and that often is not enough.

    Love and light!
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Elsi,
    I'm so sorry for the heartache you are feeling over this. The poor choices your children have made in their lives is no reflection on you as a mother. They are adults and I doubt anyone held a gun to their heads telling them to drink, do drugs or have an affair. It's okay for your heart to hurt because of their choices but it's not okay for you own any responsibility, that my hear friend is all on them.

    Yes, you will be able to handle it. Something I try to practice that has really helped me, is to project out positive even within my own thoughts. How we respond to any life situation starts in our mind. If we are thinking about a life scenario that could happen and we say things like "I will be devastated" then that is most likely how we will respond, but if we instead say "I will deal with it and I will get through it" we are setting our minds to focus on the positive.
    Now, for those grandchildren and your daughter in law. You don't have to lose her and the kids. My son married the sweetest girl, I mean she was literally an answer to my prayers. Well, my son decided partying and fooling around with other woman was more to his liking so their marriage ended. My granddaughter was 2 1/2 and my grandson was 3 months. I made a point to stay connected to them. My former daughter in law has remarried and has another child who I also claim as my grandchild. They live 2000 miles from me but husband and I go and see them. I make sure to send b-day & Christmas presents plus "just because" gifts throughout the year. My son has had nothing to do with them since he left them. He has tried to get information about the kids from me and I will not tell him anything. I have made it clear to my former daughter in law that her and the kids safety and privacy is a top priority for me. I have also told my son that my relationship with them is none of his business.

    Hang in there Elsi - "You will get through this"
    Sending you ((HUGS))
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  14. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    I really can't add anything to the others. But i don't believe you are to blame for this. You got the 5 years sober out of him. He made the decision to sabotage himself and he has to turn it around. A reminder from you may help. He has shown he has the ability to stop so hopefully he will use it sooner rather than later. You have given all of your children unending love and support if they choose not to accept it it is not on you.
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Sometimes we are the ones who plant the seed and sometimes we are the one who nurtures the seed. Also, remember, some seeds can lie dormant for many years before the germinate and bring forth new life.
    All that we have taught our children is in them, laying there like a dormant seed.
    Elsi, it has made a difference. You have come here sharing your experience with others. While it may not be the outcome you had hoped for, the outcome has offered hope to others. You have made a difference for those who have read your posts.
    Just offering a different perspective on things.
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  16. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Elsi- I'm so sorry. It's so awful to watch them relapse, as I did recently with my daughter. I wish I had words of wisdom to make this better for you, but it just takes time to deal with it and keep going. Sending peace your way. I hope you are being kind to yourself.
  17. RN0441

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


    So sorry to hear your son did this and that you and his wife are struggling with his poor decisions.

    But don't write the end of the story. A lot of things can come out of this. Maybe something good can even come out of it. Whose to say?

    Keep hope alive and be thankful you have a kind and understanding partner.

    Take care of YOU.

    We cannot live our (adult) children's lives for them.
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  18. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Tanya this brings me so much comfort. To see that there is a path forward for me with Y and the grands even if they do not stay together. Thank you for sharing your story and approach. This is beautiful.

    Thank you. Good reminder. I pray you’re right. I will try not to write the end of the story and instead let it unfold. To just sit with what is hear today, without trying to guess what comes next.

    I don’t know what I would do without R. I’m so grateful that I’m not still dealing with an abusive marriage on top of all this. And I’m glad I can finally show my kids an example of what a loving relationship and peaceful home look like.

    Thank you all.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Elsi, that is heartbreaking.
    But whatever you do, do not think for a moment that it is your fault!
    Copa, I like that note. Very interesting and could very well be what's going on here.
    Hugs, Elsi. I wish I had words of wisdom, but just know that I hear you.
  20. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I am still hoping for a turn around and he straightens himself out and fast. It seems like he is sabotaging himself. Why would he through what he has away. Sad :(