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Adult Children and guilt trips

Started by shiftedsoul66, February 07, 2015, 07:24:37 pm

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Hello all! I'm new here and this is my first post. I found this site from Google while I was very frustrated with my 2 DD's.Long story short, my DS is in trouble and has to go to federal prison. This has been going on for over 20 months. It is truly all I think about. I'm embarrassed, disgusted and very heart broken. He has to self surrender in 23 days. I've had a very hard time with this. My oldest DD decided to tell me I needed help today because all I think about or talk about is DS situation. I agree with that. At times I'm physically ill over the situation. The problem I have is that why can't both my DD's be a little bit more supportive? I would really like a little understanding or compassion. I wonder how they would handle all of this if it were one of their children?
Today my DD told me that I forget I have 2 other children because I'm so wrapped up in the situation DS has gotten himself into. I definitely have not forgot I have other kids. I speak to both of my DD's at least 5 times a day and they are at my house with my GC at least 3 or 4 days a week. She said she's feeling resentful because all of my focus is oDS. I'm just so agitated and sad. I truly am sick of my adult children trying to tell me how to live, think, feel and what should be important to me. I almost said something I felt I would regret... Like don't talk to me then. I want to see my GK's but I've just about had it. I'm to the point that I just want to be left alone to deal with all of this if I'm just going to be criticised for the way I'm handling it.
Any advice from anyone? Thanks in advance.


Welcome, S. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First to read the four posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure it's a fit. We're a monitored Website.

I have no idea what I would do in your shoes, nor do I am any comparable experiences to draw from. I did have two grown sons, the eldest is deceased. I can only hopethat what I would do would be to get that my son was an adult. That's it was about him...not me. And his to deal with.

Making our own choices and experiencing the consequences of our actions is what adulthood is. This is his lesson. You can't undo it or make it any better. It isn't about you. Again, that is being said from logic. Love can blow that sky-high. 

It would still be my suggestion that you move your focus to your own life...which is no longer one of parenting.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I read all the Open Me First threads immediately. Thank you. :)
I know my son is an adult and this is his live and learn situation. But my heart is still breaking and I'm grieving. I've read over and over again that when a loved one goes to prison that a person goes through the same 7 stages of grief as if the person died. Also, when you've never been through that situation you say and do the wrong things because you don't understand. People with loved ones in prison alienate themselves from others who don't understand their grief. You get no empathy or compassion in this situation. Which is very unfortunate because I haven't done anything wrong but I'm still being punished. I'm looking into counseling and a support group. I just thought someone may have been through something similar and might have some advice.
Thank you.


Hi SS66-

I haven't been in your shoes, either - I can't imagine what I would do.   I have a friend whose son went to prison and she is now her gk's mother in her mid-60s.  She seemed to have figured something out because she is out among the living and involved in things that interest her.   She is a very strong person.

You offered yourself some advice that makes sense to me - to take some time to be alone to really grieve this for as long as it takes.  Then you can start finding your way back.  My only advice is to be sure to take care of yourself physically while you're going through this - getting outside and walking around, looking at things and breathing fresh air at least is an old-fashioned therapy that has some benefits.    Good luck with this.


Welcome, SS66. I don't have first hand experience with your situation either, but a dear old friend of mine did and I sort of went through it with her. Luckily her DS did not have to go to prison, but the 2 year long legal battle, job loss, subsequent move, and waiting to find out what would happen to her DS affected her health and finances in a big way. She was a mess! Some people just did not understand that she was 100% focused on her DS during that time and that also affected relationships with some family members and friends. She felt quite alone except for a couple of us who did what we could.

I think your idea of finding counseling and a support group is a good one. Best wishes on finding support and getting your own life back. Give it a little time...and try baby steps.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I agree with you and the others, I think you need someone that is not family to talk to about this.

I will play the devil's advocate here.  Yes, you hope that your children, family and friends can be supportive of something like this, but you can also wear people out if that is all you talk about all the time.  If they are trying to share their lives with you too, and they are only hearing about DS, they may be feeling like you only care about him.  I'm not saying you are doing that, but sometimes we have to reevaluate what we are doing.  When I was first diagnosed with a rare disease, I found myself talking about it in every conversation I was having with my friends and family.  I really was just voicing my own frustrations with it and wanting to hear someone say everything was going to be ok, but they didn't know what to say.  A good friend finally said, "I want to hear about you and your medical stuff, but I really need to share something going on in my life with you and I need you to pay attention."  It was an eye-opener to me that made me realize what I had been doing.  I was wearing them out although they truly loved me.

I joined a support group after that, with like individuals that needed to talk about it to.  That freed up my family and friends from having to constantly hear about it.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell



So sorry to hear about your heartbreaking situation;
You're right about having to go thru the grieving process, just as if someone had died.

But I've discovered that just about everyone on this planet has some type of brokenness that needs healing. The circumstances are not the same, of course, but there is a common thread running through the torn fabric of our lives.
That is -- we realize: this is not what I expected, what I'd hoped for, what I deserve, etc.
But this is what I have and it's healthy to grieve over that tremendous loss of what was supposed to be, or not be.

For past ten years, my family has had and is still having some serious issues with one of our AC that brings us to our knees.
Here are several things that have helped me:

The other AC appreciate NOT hearing about it all the time, so I keep them posted only if asked;
They do love each other, but they all have their own lives, and own set of struggles.

Stopped talking about the issue with DH, and he appreciates that.

Kept busy with other interests and that helps me not think about it as often.

Realized I couldn't control the issue, so refocused my thoughts on good things instead of worry.

And my favorite:
Found that although I love my AC and GC dearly, and enjoy being close to them, there really are many wonderful things in life to be explored without them under my feet all the time!

When our AC make wrong choices and end up with bad consequences, we needn't be embarrassed, or isolate ourselves from others. The AC is the one with the problem, not us.

And for those who avoid us because of our AC's behavior? I don't want to be around those shallow people anyway.

All of these comments are to encourage you, b/c I know if we let these emotions get out of hand, we'll become physically ill. And I'm too old for that.

Take care of yourself. Maybe as you mentioned, some alone time would benefit, too.


Hi SS66, I know this post has been here awhile so I don't know if you are still reading but here is my reply. I had a loved one go to prison a few years ago. It was devastating because it was so unexpected. Not only does your heart break for that person because they made the biggest possible mistake of there lives, but you also have to deal with the side affects of shame and taboo's. It puts your family in a whole different light to the outside world. In my situation, even though I had not even seen my sibling for some years, the arrest news spread and everyone I knew found out. For those we knew who were not exactly our friends, in-law relatives and others including my ACs, the information was more ammunition to use against us (my family). It is a situation where you find out who your friends are.
How I dealt with it? I don't talk about it at all. I am sad for him, however he is in a place where he needs to be so he does not do the same thing again. I write to him and let him know that I still care and love him. If someone asks I give a brief answer that he is ok and try to change the subject. The only one I would ever discuss my feelings with was my counselor at the time it happened. If I were you I would just keep it between you and your son. Do what you can, write, visit, whatever, but otherwise don't talk about it. In this situation, where there is nothing you can do, talking about it will consume you, and that is not good for you or anyone else.