Author Topic: I thought I was doing so well...  (Read 2405 times)

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Offline Bamboo2

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I thought I was doing so well...
« on: November 25, 2015, 08:41:57 AM »
Hi ladies,
My 20 year old DD, who is in the relationship with the abusive BF, is in town these past few days and called to get together...really in order for my husband to help her find a job online.  She said she'd be here a few days ago, but never showed up or called.  When DH reminded her to pick up her birth control at the pharmacy while in town (yes, we have to hand those reins over to her) there was no response.  Finally yesterday she called him asking him about credit, since she and BF are planning to move back to our area and need to get an apartment.  Getting an apartment is much more difficult and expensive here than in her small town, and she told him that she needs to find a cosigner.  No, she did not ask if WE would cosign this time, and he did not offer, thank goodness.  I still think we haven't heard the last about that.

Here is the dilemma: I feel myself getting all bent out of shape when she even calls.  I thought I was doing so well emotionally, but my heart about leaps out of my body when the phone rings.  I don't want to hear about her housing issues, and I am afraid she will say something about his family.  I feel pretty emotionally vulnerable today and yesterday and I am not sure I would keep it together in conversation with her if she came over.  Yesterday she asked when we were off for the Thanksgiving break and DH told her that I am off today (he is not off), and she said she may stop by, but would call first.  I just didn't want that, as I feel so emotionally unbalanced today, and later last night a young woman who I'm close to said she and her husband had the day off and would like to see us, and I invited her over.  She is estranged from her own parents.  We have a close relationship.  I asked DH to text our daughter to say it wouldn't work to get together since we were having out of town guests, and we love her.  She said it was okay.  We also won't see her for Thanksgiving since we are traveling to see family for the long weekend.

She does always apologize for not calling or seeing us, and says how great it will be when we live close together and how often she will see us.  I don't believe a bit of it.  She comes to our town every other weekend and only came to see us once since early August, and that was for just a few minutes (she brought us a pie and her dental bill) since her BF was waiting in the car for her. 

Right now her life is all wrapped up with him and his large FOO.  And of course the struggles with trying to get an apartment and job in our city and figuring out how to make ends meet financially.  And supporting the BF in every way, as if he were her child.  It hurts to know these things.  I do so much better when I face a different direction.  But am I just burying my head in the sand?  Am I being an unloving mother?

Does anyone understand this?  I wonder if being strong and "handling" this means I can face her kindly and bravely without qualms and without hurt or fear.  I am not there.  Perhaps I'm still too attached to her poor and hurtful decisions.  When I don't know the details, or we have some distance, I feel okay.  I guess this is not loving detachment.  :(

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 04:42:18 AM »
Bamboo2 we have all vacillated in our recovery.  I still have moments when I think that I am being less than a good mother but now when I have those moments I tell myself that my DS is an adult and he is perfectly capable of handling his situation.  I know that if I step in I am actually delaying his continuing development. Your DD has her own lessons to learn in life and if you step in and help her then you are only letting her know that you do not think she can handle it.  Step back with the belief that she can handle it and make her own decisions and that they are right for her.  Tough to do but the alternative is for you to spend your life running around trying to steer her car.

Please go out and have some fun today!!  Do what makes you happy!  Try to stop thinking about your DD and spend your thoughts on the people around you who make you smile.  What you focus on expands so expand the happy part of your life up and stop inflating the part that bothers you.  It takes practice but it can be done.  Ask me how I know!  LOL

Hugs!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Bamboo2

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 06:08:55 AM »
Thanks for that great advice, Still Learning!  So I'll take the bait...How do you know?  LOL...

I love the phrase "What you focus on expands."  It is a great mantra to live by.  We are actually having a nice Thanksgiving with my husband's family.  We also celebrate Christmas at the same time, so I made Christmas cookies to bring...the first time I've made them without my daughter. (and it took sooooooo long!  My DD can crank out cookies like nobody's business :D)  There are still times like this that I feel her absence, and I am realizing that the relationship we used to have has changed, and will probably not be as close as it was, at least not while she is involved with this guy.  It is like there is a wall between us.  I do accept that she makes her own decisions and that is her right.  That her decisions are right for her, as you mentioned, is something that I have a hard time letting go of, because they look so wrong from my vantage point.  But that is my challenge to accept.  Ha ha...I guess I don't want to steer her car, but I am trying to find a way to get her to wear her seatbelt  ??? Guess I have to let go of that, too.

So the part I feel a bit guilty about is not seeing our daughter when she said she was available, and instead choosing to see a young couple who drove two hours just to see us!  We had a wonderful time with them, and we feel as close as family to them.  Part of me thinks it is good for us not to be available at our daughter's whim all the time.  We have lives, too.  But I also don't want it to appear vindictive.  Am I overthinking this?

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 08:54:43 AM »
I know because I am still practicing!!  As for feeling vindictive I know exactly where you are coming from!  I recently had a camping trip planned and my DIL decided to get her labor induced early and it would interfere with our camping trip.  Since the camping trip was planned around an astrological event that would not be repeated for 18 years (and I would be too old to go camping then I think!) and we had planned it way in advance I was left in the uncomfortable position of telling my DIL/ DS that they needed to find someone else to babysit for them. I felt really bad about it but if I had cancelled my DH would have been mad for months. I told my DS that I understood, both he and I had to side with our spouses and I went camping. I felt guilty every time I let myself think about it while we were camping, so every time the thought came up I changed my focus.  I am actually surprised because it acted almost like a wake up call.  Suddenly my DS/ DIL have realized that I have a life and they are no longer the center of it.  They are acting better now.  We will see how long that lasts. 

I am glad you are enjoying the holidays!  Keep up the good work!

Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pen

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2015, 12:00:30 AM »
I'm still practicing, too.

SL, thanks for sharing your story again.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Green Thumb

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2015, 09:13:21 AM »
Bamboo2, You have to take and see this relationship with your daughter's values not your own values. Cause you two have different values, which is just reality. Accept how she is and who she is. Its not your fault, you can't change her and you can't make it all better.

You feel guilty but the reality is she might have never called you or come over. It sounds like her life is chaotic and thus no plans are ever "set in stone" meaning she wakes up each day to whatever is happening, rather than having plans and getting going.

Therefore, don't feel guilty about seeing your young friend, who called and set up a plan with you that was real.

We all hope and pray our AC will change and be nice someday. I highly recommend Life Code by Dr Phil. It helped me see the behavior of users and narcissists for what it is, rather from my rose colored glasses.

I saw one AC at Thanksgiving, got a text message from one, heard nothing from my meanest AD, and nothing from our sociopath AS who is now using the uncle. This  AS of ours has burned through the parents, his one aunt, his grandparents and been enabled and allowed to live his chaotic life on their dime. He told his dad, "I don't need you cause you don't pay for anything." Truest words ever spoken and they set us free. It was a peaceful Thanksgiving without the extended family or AC drama.

Of course, it does make us sad sometimes but I am able to cope with it better than my husband cause I have accepted that this is how these people are and I chose not to be used or abused.  I don't like it that I got two AC who are toxic, one AC who goes along to get along with their behavior, but I feel more peace knowing what they are and who they are and just letting it be what it is rather than always hoping for crumbs of love from them.

Offline dedicatedmom

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2015, 05:43:47 PM »
Dear Friends:

I need your help. I have received a great deal of support and direction from this site for about 3 years but lately haven't posted, though I read just about everyday your posts. I have a hard time talking about being shunned by my 3 AD's resulting from finally ending my 29 year marriage to their alcoholic father. I had a bit of a breakdown in March and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and I have had thoughts of suicide. I realized I have been agonizing over this for 8 years now and I need to try to find another way. About a year ago someone recommended a book “Abandoned Parents, the Devil's Dilemma” (Wildey) and I finally bought it and it has really, really helped. It's amazing, I thought I was alone. I was a completely hands on mom, dedicated, no drinking on my part, no drugs, meals on the table every night, room mother, coach, everything I could give them that I didn't have. But once I finally couldn't take my DH daily drinking  anymore (he was up all night drinking and it finally affected his job) when he fell on his face at relatives' house at Thanksgiving in 2007 he met with my AC behind my back almost immediately and told them I was mentally ill, asking for a divorce, I mean he sold them. I kept private from them my years in Alanon to cope with his drinking. In retrospect I think the more I complained about his drinking the more he was talking to them  behind my back. Our YD was 19 at the time and away at college. She was an extremely challenging and disrespectful teenager and put us through hell but he didn't support me and didn't want to get his hands dirty. The fact that she graduated HS and went to college is a miracle because I hung in there with her. In summary, none of my DD's talk to me. My oldest DD made it so hard for me to see my GK's I gave up since June. My second DD got married in September. I didn't go because she didn't even tell me when she got engaged, I was not invited to her shower my other DD's gave her. None of my family went they live out of state and know my situation. My DS while he was at that meeting with my Ex he never really ostracized me like the others, he and I were always close. I've tried over the years to talk about it with him and he ends up jumping down my throat not wanting to talk about it. Well, he contacted me this week. He lives in Los Angeles, about 3 hours away and said he was coming to town for the family Thanksgiving get together this Saturday. I responded that I was doing pretty well being excluded but the holidays are really hard and seeing him and having to act like nothing is wrong is really hard. He reacted by email. I need your help. I contacted him and told him I didn't want him to give up on me and we should get together for a meal before he goes back home. They're all together today at my oldest DD's. I'm here alone feeling bad. Have I alienated my son too? Do I have what it takes to be cheerful and act like my life is ruined?

« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 09:37:34 AM by luise.volta »

Offline Bamboo2

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2015, 10:12:19 PM »
Still Learning - thanks so much for sharing that story about the dilemma with the camping trip vs. taking care of your GD. Sure sounds like it worked out for all of you.  I appreciate knowing you had to consciously redirect your attention toward your own enjoyment and away from guilt. 

Green Thumb - I liked the point you made about DD having such a chaotic life that she has trouble making "real plans" that she follows through with.  The other night, it was so nice to be with young people who really make us a priority in their lives rather than DD who just lately gives us the crumbs.

Dedicated Mom - I feel the pain in your story.  You have three daughters who have abandoned you.  I can't imagine the hurt you must have felt, and probably feel keenly at holiday times.  But I am very concerned that you will carry this hurt for the rest of your life, and I hope you will do whatever it takes to make the rest of it as good as can be for yourself as well as your son who truly loves you and wants you to know him.  He sounds like a wonderful man, one who you can feel very proud of! Please don't put him in the middle of this.  That is what he is asking, and he deserves to be seen on his own merits.  Turn away from your unhappiness with your daughters, and turn toward others who want to be with you.  And find ways to make yourself happy every day.  You deserve this. You can do this! 

I used to make my own daughter's story, and my heartbreak over it, into my story, and I had a captive audience for a while.  I needed to go through that, and it was gratifying that so many people cared about me. But eventually I realized it was time to reclaim my story and not have it be about my daughter's drama and the many ways she has hurt me and wronged me.  That just continually brings me down and makes me a drag to be around (I am still working on this, by the way, as I slip back into pity mode at times). I am now trying to fill my life with interesting activities, loving people and good thoughts.  I consciously choose to be uninformed about my daughter's life so I don't continually go down that road of anguish and negativity.  You can do that, too.  What can you do today to make it a good day?  Who can you reach out to?  How about planning a visit to see your son sometime - just you and him? I understand that the holidays are an emotional time, so maybe spending some time with him on his turf at a non-holiday time would be a way to nurture an adult relationship with him.

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2015, 05:06:20 AM »
Dedicated it is hard for a man to deal with a woman who is unhappy.  Men want to fix things and when they cannot "fix it" they get frustrated listening to someone talk about it.  I do not think your DS can "fix" the problem so every time he gets together with you and you bring it up he gets frustrated.  After a while anyone would start avoiding a person if seeing them meant that you left feeling worse than you felt when you showed up.  When I am with my DH I have to use this technique.....If I stray to a topic that neither one of us has control over (and there are several!) without a suggestion of how to address the situation or make things better I stop myself and say out loud "I don't want to go there" and change the subject.  Women like to talk a problem out, we pull it out and verbally dissect it trying to figure out what to do.  Men like to take things apart, replace what is not functioning and put it back together.  When my DH and I are working together I often have to stop him and ask what he is going to do.  If I don't ask then I might be picking up one end of the sofa to take it outside while he picks up the other end to turn it over.  Anyway 'doers' get really tired of listening to things they cannot fix, but then so does everyone else. 

So redirecting your thoughts to things that make you feel better has a side effect of making you more pleasant to be around and when you are more pleasant to be around more pleasant people want to be around you.  Try it for just a week.  Every time you think of your problems immediately redirect your thoughts to something that makes you happy.  Get up in the morning and make a list of the happy thoughts you can use for today. Cut that nasty voice in your head off at the knees and turn your thoughts to things that make you smile.  Do not rent space in your brain to things that make you sad. I hope your life turns around like mine did once I finally realized that for things to change first I had to change.  I still have to remind myself all the time but my life went from a swirling quagmire to a rather pleasant place and yours can too.  Good luck!

Hugs! 
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pen

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2015, 09:17:41 AM »
DM, I sent you an email regarding what this site can and cannot do for people in extreme pain & in the midst of deep crisis. Please understand that we all care so much, but we are limited. (((hugs)))
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline luise.volta

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2015, 09:31:18 AM »
I am going to delete the email from your Son. We are careful to respect privacy. And I hope the email you got from Pen explains the rest. Sending hugs...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Green Thumb

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2015, 12:25:53 PM »
My story is much like yours. Alcoholic ex husband who has alienated adult children. I truly understand your grief and merely offer some words that others have said to me that helped me.

Adult children these days have the idea that the parent caters to the kids. Meaning the parent does the giving, the child the receiving. Generations ago, parents felt their children had to earn the parents love and the children worked hard to earn it. Now, it is almost backwards, the parent has to earn the child's love. (I got this from Joshua Coleman's book, When Parents Hurt.)

Also an absentee father (like an alcoholic naturally is, even when home they are drinking not parenting), creates feelings of longing for that love in the child. So now that you are out of the picture, their father has to try harder to get their attention and they are loving having his attention and "love." It fills a void that his drinking created long ago. He wants them now and they'll take his love any way they can. 

You write that you have tried to talk to your adult son about your feelings and your ex's behavior and the son doesn't want to hear it. You see, this is his father, it is natural he wants to love his father, and have a relationship with the father. Every child does. No child wants to have to choose between parents.

Lastly, you ask how to move forward, well you do it one step at a time. When we focus on the negative, our lives become more negative. When we focus on the positive, our lives become more positive. Just for today, find something good in your life, find something joyful, dance around the living room. Then just for tomorrow do it all again. Maybe its just that you cleaned the bathroom today. Do your best to let go of yesterday and forge ahead for tomorrow, do not let the pain and grief of yesterday rule your life today.

We are rooting for you here on WWU!


Offline dedicatedmom

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2015, 07:59:45 PM »
I sincerely thank all of you for your words of wisdom. Those who were caring enough to offer help I truly am grateful. I was overwhelmed at my son's e mail to me. He has never spoken to me in that manner. I included it because it was mine to share and I felt I could never explain the intensity in my own words. I am the kind of person who could not imagine ostracizing or participating in the ostracism of someone much less my own mother, but that does not mean my son or my daughters for that matter, have no problem with it. I don't think that my problems are any bigger, more complicated or beyond help here. I agree that I am living in grief and being aware is the first step. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I will be alone while they celebrate in the traditions I started for them as children. That is unexplainable pain. I have lived with a very stressful financial situation since the divorce, and have finally reached out to family who have so wonderfully agreed to help me. Finally getting a step up in that area, I believe, will help me cope better with everything. I agree that finally my children have my former husband's attention and are enjoying it. Thank you that enlightenment, I really hadn't thought about that. Thank you all

Offline Pen

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Re: I thought I was doing so well...
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2015, 03:26:40 PM »
Sending hugs. We are here to support you during this time.

I have several friends and acquaintances who have lost their children to death by illnesses or vehicle accidents. The parents have their own ways of dealing from avoiding the pain by drinking & pulling away from relationships to doing good works in the community. We try to understand the pain these parents are in even if we haven't been through the experience ourselves.

The pain of having an estranged, verbally abusive AC is almost as strong, I would imagine, but there are no ceremonies, rituals, or sympathy cards attached to that kind of loss. It is more lonely, I guess. Please make sure you take care of yourself while you progress through the stages of grief. If it is too painful to join other families in their holiday celebrations, how about volunteering at a homeless shelter or hospital?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb