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Finally I know- why I am a caretaker! long....

Old 09-04-2010, 06:35 PM
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Finally I know- why I am a caretaker! long....

My adult son must leave my home, for his sake. I am coming to terms with this fact and beginning to trust that it will be the best thing. It is very hard for me, tho. I was wondering today, for the hundredth time, why it seems so hard for me to turn him away.

Then, it just came to me.....

My grandmother (Mom- we called her) took us in, over and over, during my childhood. I had an alcoholic dad and a codependent and depressed mom, and two little sisters.Dad would lose his job, and we would lose our rented home, and move back with "Mom".

She was a savior to us. She had an awesome old farmhouse on a hill- the happiest times of my life. When we would pack up and go there- being rescued- I could breathe a sigh of relief. I was oldest of three girls, and probably the most mature person in my home. The worrier. The fixer. The watcher. Usually, when we went there, my dad would leave, not sure why, i guess my mom was leaving him- that makes sense. he would come back sober, months later, to beg her to come back. and she would. My grandma was probably glad , tho she never made me feel unwanted. She fussed at us a lot, but we were kids.

Then, after my mom divorced my dad, we went back to moms- a lot. If we had not, we would have starved. that is a fact. my mom would not work. she did not want to drive, as she was so nervous in a car. Probably from all those wild rides we all had with our drunken dad- my mom screaming "Bruce, slow down!". She probably had anxiety, now that I think about it! Living with such an alcoholic must have been maddening. Anyway,,,

After the divorce, we lived with Mom, and our mom stayed in bed most of the time , with a "headache". Or reading her westerns. and smoking. How she got cigs is a mystery. no, guess mom got them for her. wonder who I take after?

my mother finally got a job, at the town bar , and began drinking. she became a full blown alcoholic. we girls were left alone , in dangerous situations. sometimes , we often had nothing in the cupboard, and she would bring home hamburgers from the bar , when we would call and say that we were hungry. boy, she was just not right! once, in the worst place we ever lived , the furnace would get so hot, I;d stay up at night, to make sure that it did not burn the house down. I 've always had to worry, i guess.

Then, we would lose the place, or maybe my grandma would ask us to come back, and we would have her wonderful cooking, she would teach me things about how to take care of myself, and we would get to be kids. she gave us the only good times in my childhood. The only ones. I am so thankful for her goodness. I remember running through chest high grass. throwing pebbles up in the air for bats to chase at night. listening to the occasion cougar at night, they scream just like a baby! Moms scary stories, on stormy nightswere so exciting. sleeping in a feather bed, with a oil lamp for a night light. her wonderful homemade biscuits and gravy. ahhhh..

Some would say she enabled her daughter, but my mom was not capable, i swear to you. she was not able to take care of children, or herself. She had lost a kidney,a nd quit drinking, but not until after the damage was done . We all left home as quickly as we could get married. We did not feel close to our mom, tho now, i have compassion for her . I am sorry that she missed out on some good things. She died very young, from heart disease. alcohol and cigarettes will do that to you.

But , what about my grandma? would you say she did wrong? in taking care of us? she literally saved us. there are so many more things that were awful about our lives with our parents, and "mom" showed me what good clean living was. how to work hard. how to make time for relaxation, after the work is done.

My uncle lived with her too, a lot of times. He may have stayed since she lived alone in the country, but i think that often he did not have money for another place. then , he'd get married again, and move away.

So- I have this revelation. I think that it was so wonderful when someone helped us, it felt sooooo good , to be safe, warm, clean, and fed, and around someone who was happy and normal. I think that it felt so good to me that i am driven to give that same security -that peace- to my son.

However, i see the difference here. i know he needs his own life, and that his staying with me is so very different than a child who is in need.

I'm just saying that i have figured out why I have such a desperate desire to help him now. I know the pain, and i want to spare someone that terrible , sad, hopelessness.

I am thankful for this realization. It may help me to let go, now that i know where MY fear is coming from.

thanks for listening to this long, sad tale. I am thankful that I was able to share it. I hope it was ok.

hugs,
chicory
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:42 PM
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Red face caretaking

oops

Last edited by chicory; 09-04-2010 at 06:51 PM. Reason: smiley in wrong spot
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:54 PM
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Chicory this is wonderful, wonderful stuff. You're focusing on yourself. You're admitting your powerlessness, becoming willing to hand all that crap over to a HP and working on understanding and loving yourself. You inspire me. Thank you.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by chicory View Post
But , what about my grandma? would you say she did wrong? in taking care of us? she literally saved us. there are so many more things that were awful about our lives with our parents, and "mom" showed me what good clean living was. how to work hard. how to make time for relaxation, after the work is done.
I think this is what makes co-dependency so fuzzy... people like your grandma steppin up and taking care of you! She did the only thing she knew how to do.
To me there are so many gray areas in co-dependency. At one of my recent al-anon meetings, we were talking about control issues and how we always need to control everything, etc. One of the members piped up and said she thinks "controllers" are being unnecessarily persecuted. By being controlling, her children had a stable childhood with a warm home and food to eat. They had help with their homework and someone to hear their prayers, etc. despite being raised in an alcoholic home. To me it's the same with so many of the codependent behaviors... they are usually really good qualities that cross the line.
I am kind, loving, sensitive, funny and compassionate. These are all good qualities! Somehow they morphed into major codependence. Just my observation.
Sounds like you have done some real soul searching, Chicory. Awareness is the first step ~ then acceptance ~ then action. Keep on keepin on! I'm proud of you.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:50 PM
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Hugs to you Chicory.

No, what you grandma did was not enabling. She did the right thing to love and care for you and your sisters at a time when your mother could not. Imagine if she had not stepped in.

You felt an extra load to bear as the oldest. I grew up the oldest of eight natural, step, and adopted siblings with my mom and stepdad in a very loving home, after AF left my mom with four daughters. Caretaking is what we do by default. Some of us may already have naturally giving, loving, caring personalities. IMO, it is often the unhealthy circumstances in our young lives that later cause us to choose or foster unhealthy relationships...that eventually cause us to develop our codependent traits.

Keep sharing with us. I think you're doing amazing things right now.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:10 PM
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Chicory,

Thanks so much for posting this part of your story.

Sometimes we need to go back in time to see why we do things in order to make the future changes we need. You are doing such a wonderful job, all of the hard work you are doing really inspires me.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:39 PM
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The picture is becoming clearer...Your grandma helped out children in need..wonderful.Keeping your mom in bed and full of cigarettes may have delayed your moms recovery.Huge difference. Keep digging,it's all staritng to make sense to you..amazing!
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:45 PM
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hi chicory-

gee, i wish you could get a good therapist to help you...any joy at the state subsidised facility you spoke of earlier?

i think there is a big difference between taking in 3 at-risk children versus housing and enabling a 38 year old adult man.

thank goodness for your granny!

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Old 09-04-2010, 09:07 PM
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Chicory,

I agree--I think you have had a huge revelation. Your grandmother wasn't perfect--none of us are. But she had compassion, and what she did HELPED you kids.

There's nothing wrong with helping an adult child, either, if they are taking steps toward independence. But when they won't even take the steps, because they are too afraid or too comfortable, the kind thing is to push them out of the nest and make them do that. Unused muscles atrophy, they waste away. Only if your son is forced to stand on his own feet can he gain his own balance and strength.

Many hugs to you, Chicory. You are a stronger woman than you have thought you were.
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:28 AM
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Thank you for sharing such a personal story. So glad you have put those memories into some perspective. (((hugs)))
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by KerBearz View Post
I think this is what makes co-dependency so fuzzy... people like your grandma steppin up and taking care of you! She did the only thing she knew how to do.
To me there are so many gray areas in co-dependency. At one of my recent al-anon meetings, we were talking about control issues and how we always need to control everything, etc. One of the members piped up and said she thinks "controllers" are being unnecessarily persecuted. By being controlling, her children had a stable childhood with a warm home and food to eat. They had help with their homework and someone to hear their prayers, etc. despite being raised in an alcoholic home. To me it's the same with so many of the codependent behaviors... they are usually really good qualities that cross the line.
I am kind, loving, sensitive, funny and compassionate. These are all good qualities! Somehow they morphed into major codependence. Just my observation.
Sounds like you have done some real soul searching, Chicory. Awareness is the first step ~ then acceptance ~ then action. Keep on keepin on! I'm proud of you.
It is way too easy to label human caring and compassion as "codependency." I go back to the wisdom of Shakespeare, who wrote that nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

When one crosses the line into dependency caring takes on a whole different meaning....it becomes all about soothing the feelings of the "codependent" rather than offering support to the alcoholic. IOW...using certain behaviors to regulate feelings from the outside rather than empowering oneself from the inside.

This is why I usually look for adrenaline dependency to assess codependency. The rescuing behavior....the dedication to crisis management (to the point where one will create crisis if none is available), the "other focused" life designed to avoid self awareness. The tilting at windmills, the anger at the failure to control another, to fix them. IMO,, adrenaline is a prime componant of codependency and constitutes a chemical dependency to a powerful drug.

Absent the adrenaline, the obsession with crisis, I suspect many of those we label "codependent" are simply caring, compassionate human beings.

blessings
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:01 AM
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I am glad that you are doing some soul searching. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

I was raised by my grandparents until I was 7. Then I went to my mother, that was a real adventure, then at 15 to my father. Both my mother and my father were alcoholics.
I was not spoiled, I was not babied. I was thought to take on the world on it's own terms.

It wasn't easy, but, I made it. When I left my fathers I never turned back, my parents didn't believe in the revolving door theory, kid leaves, kid comes back home, kid leaves, kid comes back home.

We all are definitely a product of our enviorment, when we become aware of how our enviorment impacted us in a negative way, we can then address the issues and make positive changes.

You made this statement on a previous thread "- but our children are what we live for. Even if they are grow. They are always our babies. Even when they don't need mommy anymore." The first part kind of took me back...I have always felt that I live for me, children are to be loved and released to live their own life, and, I must have my own life to live for and so must the child.

Just my thoughts, we all hear the beat of a different drummer, however, it just might be your time to develop a life for you.

Have a good day!
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:09 AM
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Now for the next episode,

told s that he needs to be out in a month. It was the first time we spoke since he came back from jail/court. he was as usual,a defensive, rude, denial expert.
he said that the court defender stood up and told the court that he is indigent, and that they cannot charge him with failure to appear (guess that is what it was) he says that he was wrongly charged in the first place, with a thimble full of pot, and being homeless. I give up trying to understand what happened. I let it go. he is so scattered , and in major denial, so i dont think he even knows for sure what happened, except that he feels he was wrongly charged in the first place. As I say- I give it up. doesnt matter now. Letting it go. I cant help it, was not my fault, even if he was wrongly charged,I did not do it. I cant fix it, either. regardless, the charges are dropped - fines too.
letting it go.

I looked up evictions. and the landlady has to pay 110$ to file, and then show in court, to get him out. i risk being sent packing too, since he was not supposed to be here, and the lease says that any time police are called here, the renter can be evicted. so, i am going to do it some other way.

I told him this am that he has a month to be out. that i will have his car donated, or towed, or junked if he does not leave.
told him that he is abusing me, by the anger, and the arguing, etc.
he says he is the abused, the misunderstood, the victim.
i will not go into the stupid arguing that I let myself be drawn into, except that he says that I am sick, and looking for things to be obsessed about. boy, pushed my buttons, but i remained reasonably calm, and told him that I will not let anyone live with me, and to treat me as he has.
told him that he is a man first , then my son.
told him i would take him to the shelter, where they have programs.
he said he is trying to find work, and i dont even know how much he is doing in that respect.
i told him that it didn;t matter, even with a job he must go.

i just get so blown away,by these things. i feel so alone, in dealing with this. he was nasty, and i told him that i will not let him frighten me, be violent, or damaging, and that i would call the cops as soon as he does any of those things.

i was crying in the other room, and he asked if i was alright!!! how can he ask that???
I said no- its not alright. his anger cools when he sees me cry, and I dont want him to see that. i want to be strong, but i am so tired of this.
please , no criticism, just an update. i am doing all that i can right now.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:09 AM
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I am sending hugs, I know that is difficult. Is there anywhere you can go today, to get yourself calmed down? Getting away from it all just might help.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:14 AM
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Great job standing up for yourself and taking care of YOU Chicory!!! I know how much courage and gumption that must have taken. I cannot wait for the day when you post how much peace you have. Talking to (and living with!) people like that will make you plain crazy. Keep up the good work! (((hugs))) you are not alone; we are standing right beside you.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:49 AM
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Thank you girls,

yep- it's trying its best to make me crazy today. i have been crying all morning.

I cannot bear to accept that my son is so mixed up that he WON'T see what he is doing wrong.

love you guys,,
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:54 AM
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Chicory, congratulations on this important insight....

I really related because I had the exact same experience of being "saved" every summer by my greataunt who had this wonderful house on the beach in Connecticut. Those memories are so precious and indelible in my mind sometimes I get obsessive about wanting to "go home again." Unfortunately we can't do that. I have vowed, maybe as you have, to do what I can to recreate that serenity and normalcy in my own life.

But, as you have pointed out, what your grandmother did for you was not codependency--she was protecting a young, helpless victim--not enabling an alcoholic.

You are doing the right thing with your son, as painful as it is. He is making his own choices. He is NOT a helpless victim the way you were when you were young.

Recreate FOR YOURSELF the life your grandmother gave you--give yourself that serenity, normalcy, beauty and peace--and you will be honoring her legacy.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:41 PM
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Update of my own....
I have a friend on Facebook--he's someone I know from the town in CT that I mentioned where my great-aunt had a cottage. He lived across the street, and we even had a "thing" when we were about 13. As Facebook goes, we found each other last year, and he told me that he goes once a week to stay at his cottage in this town (he has inherited it from his dad, who is now deceased). He recently posted pictures of his annual visit--and the pictures make my heart ache! No reason for it. I know I can't go back there. But just the sight of those pictures just pull me back to the little girl who was so well protected. Whose life was simple and serene.

I want to just pray to God for gratitude that I had that time. But it still hurts when I see what I no longer have.... so sorry for this tangent of self-pity. It's not that. It's just that those pictures really zap me right back to that time when I felt so ... simply myself.
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