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Need input, daughter/son dilemma

Old 05-24-2011, 11:46 AM
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Need input, daughter/son dilemma

My RAS is 30, my daughter is 27. Daughter and I lived in an apt. together during the worst years of my sons addiction. She experienced first hand my addiction to him, my codependency, my enabling. At some point she said let's get an unlisted phone number and brother is NOT allowed in our apt. A year or so previous, she was home (previous family home that we all lived at) during a drug raid at our house (due to brother,) had gun pointed at her and was screamed at by police, her brother was at work that day . . . didn't get to experience it.

I respected her boundaries, but continued in my enabling behind her back for quite some time. Things have gotten better, I attend NarAnon and AlAnon.

Daughter met a guy and has moved in with him.

Son went into recovery, lived in a recovery house for 6 months and now lives in a room in one of the sober houses. He still has a couple warrants for minor crimes and does not work.

My family or origin has spent time w/my son lately. Family gatherings, outings, just spending time together. He has had a chance to talk to some of them, they are accepting him for who he is today. They may not agree with his "life" but are willing to to spend time with him.

My daughter has refused to have anything to do with her brother. He has sent her two cards (1 birthday & 1 congrats for graduating nursing school). He has written small notes in each expressing apology for what he's done. Daughter is ANGRY that I threw thousands of dollars away by giving it to him . . . she is angry that I don't have any to give to her now that she is struggling to find a job and has student loans to pay. She claims she will not have anything to do with him until he is living a "normal" life, apologizes to her, acts like a decent human being, isn't living in a sober house, takes care of himself, etc., etc., etc.

I've respected her wishes by not having son at any family gatherings that she will attend - most holidays, etc. I told her last Thanksgiving that next year he would be invited - she was not happy.

My family would like to go to cemetary on Sunday to visit my Dad's grave. I know son would like to go, I know daughter would like to go. I mentioned it to daughter and (of course) she is mad that son would get invited and won't come if brother is there. She is mad that "family" does more things w/him than with her.

Yeah, as I'm typing they sound like 5 years olds . . . anyway . . . and wise words of wisdom??? I know she has a right to her boundaries and expectations. But does that mean I have to continue to figure out 2 ways to acknowledge holidays or get together with family? Yeah, my son isn't living a "normal" life, but I see slow progress. Is it the progress I want, no. Is it the way I think he should do it, no. But it is his life to live, not mine . . . or hers.

This is of course only the mini-version of our life and brother/sister struggles . . . Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Joan
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:55 AM
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(((Joan))) - so sorry you are going through this. Your daughter is angry and she's going to have to work her way through that...or not. Hopefully, she will. I don't see it as choosing between one or another (though I'm sure she would disagree), but she is making the choice to not attend family functions when he is there.

Any chance SHE would go to al-anon? After all, she has been affected by his actions and is holding a lot of resentments.

Sorry I don't have any advice. I know that my niece and I are currently not talking because of something she did but swears it was "my fault". She, too, has a lot of anger (about her life, in general) and has chosen to take it out on me. I miss her, I love her dearly, and did send a text of support when she was staying with her best friend and the friend's mom OD'd one night (she's fine, has OD'd once since then and in treatment). I got no reply.

I've chosen to let her walk her own path. If she wants to be angry at me because of her life (and granted, she's had a tough one), then so be it. She knows I love her, and I just pray that someday she'll come around. My dad has said he feels like he has to choose between the two of us. I told him he was wrong...he can talk to Brit whenever he wants to, but I don't necessarily want to hear every time he does. I do ask if she's okay, but she rarely talks to any of us, these days.

So yeah, I kinda get where you're at and it's no fun

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:21 PM
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Actually this is the time when 'mommy' steps back.

It is their choice, both of them to attend or not to attend. Daughter has issues that eventually she will work on or continue to be miserable. Son also has issues to be worked on. Mom still has issues to be worked on.

The only one you can fix is YOU. If I were you, I would STAY OUT OF IT. It is NOT your problem.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:34 PM
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Joan: I agree with Laurie...step back.
As a mother of 4 Adult Children, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to organize family get togethers, especially after their father died.

Everyone, was so dysfunctional (especially me w/ my control issues) that it was a disaster almost every time. Then when my AC(s) began bringing heavy drug use into the picture, my oldest did not want to come to any get-togethers anymore.

It hurt that my family couldn't even get together for special holidays. However, I am now beginning to realize that if my ACs want a family gathering, they will have to plan it and invite me.

I realize its easy to say and hard to do when it comes to your adult children,
huggs
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JMFburns View Post
I know she has a right to her boundaries and expectations.
As do you. You've respected her boundaries but does she respect yours? Taking her anger and resentment out on you is not healthy for either of you.

I agree with Laurie, it's time to step back. Protect yourself and let them do whatever they have to do.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:46 PM
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Thank you all, good responses.

I guess even in this I was getting caught up in worrying about whether everyone was getting along, having a good time, feelings not being hurt, etc. Worrying about others rather than even thinking about myself.

I started posting this seconds after hanging up w/my daughter and listening to her tell me why I shouldn't 'encourage' son to visit g'pa's grave w/family this weekend . . . she doesn't get invited to do things w/g'ma, me, my siblings, but my son does, etc. It seemed like there was maybe something I could say (or in a certain way) that would convince her to give brother a chance or at least be willing to be in the same place at the same time.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JMFburns View Post
Thank you all, good responses.

I guess even in this I was getting caught up in worrying about whether everyone was getting along, having a good time, feelings not being hurt, etc. Worrying about others rather than even thinking about myself.

I started posting this seconds after hanging up w/my daughter and listening to her tell me why I shouldn't 'encourage' son to visit g'pa's grave w/family this weekend . . . she doesn't get invited to do things w/g'ma, me, my siblings, but my son does, etc. It seemed like there was maybe something I could say (or in a certain way) that would convince her to give brother a chance or at least be willing to be in the same place at the same time.
I agree with everyone above that the relationship between your daughter anbd son is not your business, you can't fix it, you can't fix them, etc. However, I can tell you that neither the son or daughter have a right to dictate who is or is not invited for holidays/family gatherings. As the mother, that is your choice, especially if the events are to be held at your residence. I would explain to both of them that you would like them both to attend, but the other sibling is also invited and if that makes them uncomfortable then you would understand if they do not attend. You shouldn't have to upset one to please the other and you shouldn't have to go to such extremes to avoid the two being in the same room. Even if they don't speak, they should be able to act like adults.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:58 PM
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I also agree with others, they will have to work this out with each other.

With that said, I do understand your daughters feelings, so much effort, time and money was spent by you on your son, and, she feels left out, not as important. These are real feelings, real disappointments and unfortunatly these issues are hers to resolve.

Perhaps time will heal all, that is my wish for you and yours.
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JMFburns View Post
. . . she doesn't get invited to do things w/g'ma, me, my siblings, but my son does, etc.
I recognize that one. That's not really about your son and his addiction (she excludes herself), though it's a byproduct. She wants things to be about her. This is a classic passive/aggressive cry for attention.

If you ask her again to reconsider, she'll take it as being ignored again. She wants undivided attention, bunches of it, and of course she wants it on her terms

But I don't know what I'd say in your shoes. I'd have to fall back on the codie creed and do what I can and should, while not doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. Clear as mud?
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:01 PM
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JMF,
My opinion would be, your daughter has a right to voice her opinions, and you have a right to listen and decide what is in the best interest for YOU.

I see in your post your codependent behavior coming through , trying your best to smooth things over and attempt to soften the discord.


Take yourself out of the equation.

Also, your daughter may feel that your attention has been mainly focused on your son, due to his addiction, while she, being the "good" child has taken a back seat. I think she made that point clear when she was speaking of her needing money.

Hugs..
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:55 AM
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Addiction truly is a family disease and often there is healing needed beyond the addict himself.

Being in the middle never serves any of us well. I agree that she must do her own healing and decide whether she wants her brother in her life or not. "Not" is an option we all have to respect. I can't honestly say that if this was my brother and I had been through what she has been through that I would want a relationship with him. But it's her cross to bear and her life to sort out.

That said, I would invite everyone to family events (I love Anvilheads take on this, lol) and then let the outcome fall where it may. Show her love, show him love and most of all, love yourself. That's about the best any mama can do.

Hugs
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:35 AM
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I'll share my story about my brother and myself and my dear dear mother.

My brother and I had a falling out a several years back. It doesn't matter what it was about now but it put a HUGE wedge between my brother and I. My Mom and Dad felt caught in the middle. How did they handle it?

They invited us both to family gatherings. We each had the choice to go. I would go, he would not.

They made time for each of us individually.

I use to bit*h about brother rather constantly to my dear mother. One day she quietly said "ke, your brother never says a bad word about you. I'm getting tired of hearing you talk negatively about him. I love you both and your constant comments are beginning to make it difficult for me to be around you."

Whew......was THAT a rude awakening! It felt like she SLAPPED me! I was MAD! But her quiet words made me think. I didn't want to damage the relationship with my mother! I stopped talking about him to her. Her words helped me understand that even though he had done some pretty bad things (in my opinion), she was NOT going to take sides or validate what I said in any way. I was perpetuating the problem and creating damage to my other important relationships.

My brother and I reconciled after my dad died in a small aircraft accident. It still makes me sad that it took my dad's death to get us to talk again. But I know that it has brought comfort to our mother. I have forgiven my brother. I have moved forward. But it was my mother laying down her truth that finally got me to stop my bad behavior.

I guess my point is.....you just NEVER know what the future holds and ultimately, the issues belong to your adult children. Remove yourself from the middle. It's not healthy for them. It's not healthy for you.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:13 AM
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Thank you everyone, it has given me many wise words of wisdom to think about.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:48 AM
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(((JMF)))
I've been in the middle a few times myself. I had to put my foot down and warn them that I would no longer be held hostage in their battles.

What I learned about this was that it bothered me much more than them that there was a problem. I was the one stressing and trying to find a solution, while they sat back and played "their game".

I wanted no parts of it anymore. That doesn't mean I wanted no part of them, just "it".

I agree with everyone above...step back, remove yourself from the equation and keep the leftovers
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:56 PM
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Lots of good input.
I don't disagree with it. But another way of looking at it?

She detached? Is not ready to reengage at this time?
That may be the healthiest and best thing for her to do for herself, right now?

Just my experience. Sober house, does not mean sober.
She may need to SEE, changes. That is what she may mean, when she says a "normal" life. Some of that anger, may also be fear.

Not just that her brother will relapse, but possibly you along with him?

But expecting her to suddenly change. Reengage after detaching? Has he attempted to speak with her, done a 4th step? Sorry? And not just the sorry he is sick, sorry.
Put some work into it, like how his disease affected his family, her? Not just little notes inside of cards.

If he hasn't. Expecting her, to come to family occasions and act like nothing happened, may be too much, too soon for her.

But with her previous experience with the police raid. If he has current warrants out for his arrest, I can understand her not wanting to be around him.
We need to be careful of what we make our children's "normal."
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