Will I ever be happy again?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MissLulu, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    I'm having a particularly bad day today.

    I'm so tired of thinking about my Difficult Son, worrying about him and worrying about the impact his behaviour has on my other kids.

    It's not long now until he moves out of our home. (He's moving on March 20.) I know there's only a month or so to go until he's out of my home but right now that feels like forever. I think my despair has been triggered today because he came home from work in a really bad mood. He was barely civil to me, rude to his father and then went out without saying goodbye. I know this doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but this is how he behaves when something is wrong. Now I'm here wondering what it is. Has he lost his job? Is he in legal trouble? Has he had a falling out with friends? It could something major or minor - his mood/personality disorder makes it hard to work out which, because he goes to pieces just as easily over small mishaps as he does over large ones.

    Whatever it is, major or minor, I'm exhausted from worrying. I guess I want him to leave so badly that I'm afraid something will happen to delay that - losing his job for example. I know I let my imagination run away with me at times, and picture worst case scenarios, but the problem is that sometimes the dramas are major ones. I'm perpetually worried about what is around the corner, even when things are going okay.

    I'm sitting here typing this and crying. I'm so tired and worried and scared. We have done everything we can think of to help this kid (man now - he's 24) and he is still struggling and does not appear to appreciate what we've done for him. I feel like no matter what happens I can never truly be happy again.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I believe you when you’ve said you e done your best to help him. What more can you do? It’s not appropriate for him to be rude to you ever, especially when he is staying in your home!

    a small amount of this might be the normal (although very delayed) amount of separation anxiety that comes with a big change like this...especially leaving the parental home.

    But since he is a difficult child...no doubt a bit more to it.

    You might give it some thought on what boundaries you will need to set in place when he moves out as there is a nice chance he will ask for help with a variety of things. I wouldn’t besiege him right now with that. Maybe a few important things from the onset and then see what happens.

    Yes, I believe you will be happy again. I use to wonder this too. Much started when our Difficult Child moved out. I began to explore interests of my own. Hubby and I went on date nights. I made new friends. It was a push and a well worthwhile one. Blessings.
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  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Hi. It's early morning here. I want you to feel you are being heard. Your feelings and pain matter. I am learning how to embrace the pain and let it go to God, if you believe in God like I do. I am learning good skills that I can utilize in Therapy. I don't know if, within your health system, you can choose your own therapist or not. Pardon my ignorance!

    If you can find a good therapist, I think they help if they teach skills. In the u.s. many do. It's not just talking these days. If can choose your therapist, I recommend trying one who resonates with you!

    I find learning tools from my therapist has been invaluable. I also follow people like Ekhart Tolle and am learning to tone down the mean voice in my head (ego) and let my higher self/divine self guide me. I apologize if this sounds Hocus Pocus. It has changed my life so I thought I would share. I no longer constantly worry about my difficult child. I learned better coping skills than worry.

    Mindfulness and radical acceptance are both great for me. I love the book Radical Happiness by Gina Lake (Amazon). I read a lot and love Gina Lake, Ekhart Tolle and Tara Brach. For a more expanded spiritual approach, read Matt Kahn or listen to him on YouTube.

    I am starting to see that for me at least the way out of pain is to see the world through a more divine, kinder lens, which anyone can do even if an atheist. It is seeing the world differently, in a different context, through different perspectives.

    My best two cents is maybe try to focus on every moment and it helps so much if you can turn off the mean girl in your head (ego) that shows you movies of the past and what it thinks you did wrong and scary snippets of the future which, in reality, is a complete unknown. That nasty ego keeps us suffering. We can quiet it or learn to ignore it and live in each moment. No, it isn't easy but I am doing it often,! It is a blessing!

    I send you prayers and love and hope you find methods to slow down that chatter in your head that projects only bad outcomes of a future that is not here yet.

    I apologize if this sounded like nonsense. May you all find your way to peace.
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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  4. RN0441

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

    Try to think positive thoughts.

    My husband just showed me a picture this morning of our oldest son's childhood friend on Facebook. This guy was a mess. On drugs, got high/drunk and killed an old woman while driving intoxicated. He served many years in jail. He is now out, married and looks great.

    I remember when this all happened to this guy. It was really all so sad because he was a nice guy but had an addiction. He has turned his life completely around.

    Sometimes bad things happen before good things can happen. Push the negative thoughts out. It is a skill you really have to practice daily. I do.
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  5. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    It doesn't sound like nonsense at all, Busy, and I appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply.

    It's funny, when I was younger, I dismissed my Catholic roots and became an atheist, and I was very confident in my non-belief. As I've grown older I find myself turning back to my faith and expanding it. I wouldn't say I am religious, but I definitely believe in a Higher Power and find myself more open to spiritual learning from many sources.

    I do try to practice mindfulness, I do try to focus on today, but some days are harder than others. Some days I descend into self-pity, and yesterday was one of those days. When I'm feeling really low I find coming here helps. It's reassuring for me to know that there are other good, kind, caring people in the same situation (or similar) to me. Not that I'm happy that any of need to be here, but I draw comfort from the sage advice and kind words of those who understand.

    Thank you for your prayers and love. I send the same back to you.
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  6. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I used to think I was a bad parent for not being totally miserable because of how badly my difficult children's lives are.

    I've had to do a lot of reprogramming, lots of therapy, support groups, writing, reading, etc. to get to a place of not feeling guilty, preoccupied, and sad all the time.

    1. I realized that I was letting my difficult children determine my feelings. It's like they were choosing the weather for me each day. I decided that I get to choose the emotional weather I want to be in.

    2. I am not my difficult children's higher power. They have their own paths.

    3. My worrying and misery have not fixed my difficult children, and it takes away from the joy I should be having with my other children and from the joy I want in my life in general.

    4. A month is a long time. I will not let my difficult children live with me. Even a day can be too toxic. You can change your mind about how long he can stay, and you would not be a bad person for loving yourself enough to protect yourself.

    5. You're not making it a big deal. Being treated badly is a big deal.

    6. I can't change anybody but me. I choose to work on myself.

    7. I'll never stop loving my difficult children.

    I am sorry you are hurting. I do understand this feeling because there's a lot of sorrow when our difficult children are so off the rails.
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  7. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    RN, thank you. You have given me hope. Maybe he will turn himself around one day.

    He has made a lot of progress over the past 12 months - he's now been continuously employed for one year, and the incidences of "meltdowns" have been fewer. He is mostly polite to us and not too demanding. Back he backslides every now and then and I am reminded of what he can be like. And if I'm honest, he is selfish all the time. He's polite to us because right now he needs us - he doesn't have any where else to go. (When he leaves in March it will be to a house we have bought for him to rent. I did this for my own mental health - not for him!) He doesn't contribute to our household in a positive way he only takes. I am always looking for the good (and there is some) but I have to acknowledge that there is something very broken in him, something that allows him to only view the world through his own selfish eyes, and to see himself as a victim of circumstance rather than the recipient of consequences for his own stupid actions. Nothing I do or say can change that. Only he can do the work to fix himself. I'm not sure that will ever happen, but your example has shown me that there is always hope.
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  8. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Thank you for your kind reply, Nomad.

    You're right about boundaries, of course. My husband and I have been discussing this very subject. Right now we're just focused on getting through the next few weeks with as little drama as possible. Once we have him out of our house we will address those boundaries with him.

    I'm so glad things improved for you and I'm very hopeful they will for me too!
  9. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Thank you for your reply, Acacia.

    You are so right about the worrying not changing anything. Intellectually, I know this, but I can't seem to stop myself from doing it anyway. I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I manage to string a few good days together and then I come crashing down again.

    I've been dealing with this for years but the past 12 months have been particularly hard because my Difficult Child moved back home after his living situation didn't work out. He was in a very bad state when he came home, but has improved quite a lot over the year. Even so, his presence has taken a toll on me. I feel like I have aged ten years in the past 12 months. I'm not at the point where I can ask him to leave when I know he has nowhere to go. I understand that having nowhere to go is his issue, not mine, but I'm not mentally in a place where I can see him homeless. So, we have bought a house for him to rent from us and put procedures in place for him to pay us via a real estate agent. He knows this is the last help he we get from us. I so hope that once he moves into this house I will start to let go of the constant worry.
  10. louise2350

    louise2350 Member

    Miss Lulu: My heart goes out to you with the worrying. I find when I wake up in the middle of the night I worry not only about my middle estranged daughter, but my other two grown children too - the other two are healthy minded but sometimes face problems that even I can't help with. All I can do, like others said, is to hand my three daughters over to God.

    I, too, am Catholic.When I was in my early 20's for a short time, I didn't bother with my religion. I had been brought up going to Parochial school and given a strong Catholic background. As I look back in this short time without God in my life, my life did become a mess. Eventually, I did go back to my religion. I faced many difficulties and pain in my life and couldn't have coped without my religion.

    Getting a good counselor would help I'm sure. I'm still looking around for one but so far haven't been very successful. I'm going to keep looking, hoping I will find a good therapist/counselor whom I will benefit from. I hope things turn around for you and you receive peace in all of this.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  11. RN0441

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

    I think that adult children can be very selfish and self centered. We see that with our other two boys that are NOT difficult and took good paths.

    Neither of them have children yet so maybe that is when they will realize a parent's love and how much we have sacrificed for them. The older boys are both 33 now and no children yet. We are hoping they will have children but just not sure if they will (not ready/too selfish? who knows). They are not twins, they are my husbands and mine and are 7 months apart. Our youngest boy together is our Difficult Child.

    Last night our formerly Difficult Child that is turning it around came home from night school and said he got an 80% on his test. This was great news since this is a very hard class and the entire class struggles and to date while he has not failed any tests, this is his highest test score. We told him that we want him to know that we were proud of him that he has put everything into school, not missed any days and is taking it seriously. He told us that he has "failed enough". Wow that meant a lot coming from him and made us feel like he is truly "getting it" now.

    We just won't give up as long as he is moving forward even if it's not on our timing.
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  12. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I read this and it resonated with me regarding our son too. For some people, being treated in a generous and gracious way makes them grateful, appreciative, and willing to own their actions. For others, it makes them selfish and entitled and unwilling to own their own decisions and consequences. It's a mystery, but that's the way it is.
  13. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    That is so encouraging for you! I'm rejoicing with you at the positive things you are seeing in this DS.
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  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh how I remember those days!! I had a two year period when our son was still a teenager, when I would come home from work, as soon as I turned onto our street I would feel nauseous and anxious. I never knew what I would come home to. Here are some of the things I came home to; a hole about a foot wide in my bedroom door - we had to keep our room locked because our son was always stealing from us. One day, he took a hammer to our door and beat a huge hole in it to get inside so he could steal our small safe that had $3000 in it then ran away. Thankfully the police caught him and we got it back. One time I came home and he had taken a butcher knife and hacked away at my kitchen counters. When I asked him why he did that, he said it was because he couldn't find any money. There were many times I would come home and the house was ransacked because he was looking for money, drawers pulled out and dumped on the floor, lots of things broken. There were times he would run away and while my husband and I were at work, he would break into the house, broken windows and cut screens.
    I totally understand your feeling of "what's around the corner"
    What I can tell you is once he is out of your house your peace will return. I'll be honest, it takes some time. We as battle weary parents can suffer from PTSD. Recognize it for what it is. One of the best things you can do for yourself when he's gone is to make your home "your home". Rearrange the furniture, paint the walls, buy some new window coverings, buy a new picture or nick-nack, do something to freshen it up. Even just buying some fresh flowers can help! It's your home, your sanctuary. Let go of the negative vibes and fill it with good vibes.

    I too used to feel that way. I was so far down the rabbit hole I didn't think I would ever find my way out. I'm living proof that yes, you can move on from this and be very happy. My son is 38 and still chooses to live a homeless lifestyle. I don't communicate with him very often. Sure, it's sad but I have come to accept it for what it is. My son is free to choose to live his life the way he wants. I don't have to like it but I do accept it. Just as he is free to live his life, so am I. I'm 57 and not getting any younger and I have made a choice to live my life the very best I can. I do what makes me happy.

    I have no doubt that you too will overcome all of this. I'm so sorry you have to go through it but it will make you stronger. Even though you feel beat down, you have such strength!! Think about all that you have endured and you are still standing strong.

    Practice self care always!!! Do one thing each day that is just for YOU!!
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  15. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Love this. Great ideas. I am wondering why husband and I never thought to do these things?

    We recently listed the house we lived in during much of the turmoil with Difficult Child. We have accepted an offer on it and pray it closes in a couple weeks. We lived there 21 years and there were/are so many bad memories within those walls. Good memories, too - but still---It is a wonderful house, but we are happy to be out of it.

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  16. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Tanya, thank you. Your post made me cry (in a good way!) You have brought me real comfort today and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. xxx
  17. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Hi Louise, thanks so much for your reply.

    I really think I need a counsellor and I'm looking into that. A friend gave me a recommendation for someone she has seen and all I need to do is to make that first call. I don't know what's holding me back. I think maybe I'm afraid that if I actually talk to someone about all of this that I will fall apart so badly I might never pull myself together!

    I hope things improve for you too.
  18. RN0441

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

    Last night at my women's group I really got emotional. We break into small groups and pray for each other. Naturally I always pray for our son. I have been saying the same prayers for many years and it gets exhausting. I have seen a lot of my prayers answered for him though so I keep praying. When my friend was saying the prayers for all of us and him I just had tears streaming down my face. I normally hold it together pretty well. I swear every week at least one woman cries about something. It is such a feeling of peace to be able to let it all out and not be judged - at all.

    A women I had met there recently came up to me after our meeting and asked if I was okay, she had seen that I had gotten very emotional. I told her about our son and how although things were way better, I was still very afraid for his future and felt anxious. I feel that he is very lonely. She then told me about her 39 year old daughter. She has not seen or heard from her since September. Her daughter has been using prescription pain pills since age 17 and was arrested with pills and meth. She feels her daughter will commit suicide rather than going to jail.

    However she is at a place of peace. She said she does not want her daughter in her life if she is sick. She feels that SHE is an enabler and can't say no so it's best she doesn't hear from her. She said that all she can do is pray for her. She said no matter what happens. She showed me her strength and faith last night and I think that is what I needed. Maybe by sharing this story it can help one of us here.
  19. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    RN, I cried reading your post. Thank you for sharing that with us. I feel I'm getting closer to detaching with love and stories like these help me feel less alone.

    I just read "When your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart" and I found that very helpful too.

    Sending you love and blessings.
  20. louise2350

    louise2350 Member