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When Your Child Hurts You – Parenting Tip #45

My first son and I have something very in common. We write our best articles when we feel passionate about something, especially if that something hits us in our emotions. Yep. We’re emotional beings and occasionally another being will hit our emotional nerve and cause us to sort things out until we feel we sufficiently understand them or can at least put it behind us.

(If you’d like to see his writings about refugees and his newest adventure in Uganda working with communities go to AndrewFrania.com. You will be blessed.)

So, if you’ve gotten this far and plan to continue reading, I’ll get specific and to the point.

Yesterday I spent time with and/or talked to 9 of my 15 children. I know! That’s pretty cool in itself. I could have even reached 10 but one of them hasn’t texted me back yet.

Let’s break it down and then I’ll address my topic.

(1) One of my adult kids just spent 2 days attacking me via text. Blindsided me actually. Out of the blue. I still have no idea why. It just happened. One minute I was holding my new grandson for the first time while out of town visiting him and his family and the next I was looking down at a text that totally obliterated my “new grammie feeling.”

For just a moment. A millisecond actually. I chose to compartmentalize that moment and willed myself to take myself back to that moment of bliss, blocking the cruel punch to my grammie bubble.

It’s something I’m learning and am getting pretty good at. Most of the time. For the most part. OK, sometimes I’m able to do it.

After our “grammie meeting new baby” trip was over, I questioned the texter as to the why of the attack and it just spiraled to an all out “beat up mom for no reason” texting extravaganza. I decided it was going nowhere, so I asked my DH to handle it for me. He’s such a good doobie. I seldom ask him to step in, but I was getting nowhere and just wanted it to stop. It was ruining my day and just adding to the mound of stress I already had been battling.

It continued into the next day – one text after another. This time it was at work and I needed to focus on my job, not this ranting from the abyss. I warned that it must stop and gave my ultimatum: be kind and respectful or I would block any communication using that handy, “block caller” check box. I’ve never done it before. But sometimes “ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.”

Are you like me? Do you check your texts in between your busy moments to see what’s going on in your little world and then get a sick, heart turning upside down, kinda feeling when you read something negative? What if you kept getting negative, mean or spiteful messages every time you looked at your phone for two days straight?

How long do you let it go on? Do you thrive on derision? I don’t.

I am happy to help someone in trouble, lift someone up that’s down. I thrive on meeting needs and encouraging others. But sometimes you just can’t help. Sometimes people are just hell-bent on destroying others because they themselves are unhappy. I don’t get it, but it does happen. That is the case here. I came to realize that whenever something negative or hurtful or disappointing happens to this individual, they immediately text and dump on me. Most of the time I can take it. Most of the time I can talk them through it and find out what happened and help them navigate their way through it.

But this time it was different. I was their emotional punching bag. Right. Mom always loves you. You can do whatever you want to her and she will always love you. Well, yes, this is true. BUT…

This time it was different because no reasoning worked. No questions were answered as to why the attack. There was no foundation for the spewed hatred being typed into words via text. The rant just kept coming. All day. All night. The next morning. So I blocked said attacker. I warned. It continued. I blocked. But that’s not the end of the story. It yet has to play out.

 

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Now let me tell you what happened after that moment when the attack stopped (on my end, probably not on their end). But I couldn’t hear it because I checked that little box, “block caller.” Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the path of destruction for your own safety.

But it gets better. At least it did for me. I mentioned I talked to 8 more of my kids that day. I suppose I am more blessed than others because when one hurts me, I still have 14 others that I can look to. And good percentage of those 14 are kind and loving toward me, consistently.

So here is the break down of the other 8.

(2) One called me from Uganda, East Africa in the middle of his busy work day to encourage me when he found out I was having a hard day.

(3) Another joked with me and shared her children – hugs from grandkids cannot be adequately described. A (4, 5) couple of others texted and messaged me – always upbeat and respectful no matter what is going on in their lives. The every day chatting with some of my kids provides a good dose of sanity and grounding, reminding me they do not live in the drama zone nor do they want to drag me into it. Refreshing.

(6) Another called wanting details on a car accident one of our other kids had been in –  I realized I hadn’t called her to let her know. She could have been angry but she wasn’t! Hmmm. That is the standard families should hold to. Graciousness. A little found commodity in many families. Graciousness was what I needed – it was granted to me even when I was negligent by my lack of communication. And she didn’t even yell at me! No nasty texts. Only concern for her brother.

(7) Another called about the car accident, wanting to know how he could help.

(8) Another messaged me thanking me for a tiny gift I’d given him.

(9) One took me to dinner and shopping. Retail therapy. It works! (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud!)

Of course I have to add my wonderful DH as always was, well, wonderful.

So here is my many faceted parenting tip #45.

  • You are not a punching bag. If your adult kids can’t be kind and respectful, walk away. Yes, you should try to help. Offer advice. Do what you can to alleviate suffering and meet needs. But if they are just mad and wanting to take it out on you because they think you are “safe,” then cause them to think again. Will you miss them if they don’t make it right? Yes. But you will not miss being abused.
  • Even if your kids are mentally disabled, emotionally scarred, or generally just clueless, that doesn’t mean they are incapable of being respectful and polite. Put up your boundaries. If they try to beat you up, taking their frustrations out on you, don’t let them do it! Draw your line and if they cross it, walk away. Tell them you love them no matter what, but that you will not let them abuse you.
  • I’m going to say it again. Moms are not punching bags. We are soft and breakable. We are not super human. We can be hurt. We have our own lives to manage and we are not responsible for managing our adult children’s lives. They must figure that out themselves. If anything, once they are adults, THEY SHOULD BE TAKING CARE OF US. We did our deal. For years we put them first, met their needs, taught them, educated them, taught them about spiritual things, modeled adulthood and set limits, taught them respectfulness, how to work hard…the list goes on. There is a time when that stops and you just become “mom” the one who they respect and care for. It’s called adulthood. If they can’t manage to do that, then look to those who do. Revel in their love and respect and let go of those who don’t.
  • Realize they may never come back if you make them stop hurting you. They may walk away because of some misguided accusation in their head that tells them they can’t count on you or that you don’t love them or some nonsense like that. They might choose to do something stupid that will damage them for life. Realize it’s not you, it’s them. Realize you cannot control them or their messed up thinking process. Of course the “*” to that is to assume you were not the cause of their problem. If you are, then fix it.  In this case the attack was unwarranted and I have not discovered the root cause, though I tried. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.
  • The real root cause of such abuse is much deeper than what set the attack in motion. The root cause can only be fixed by God, the healer of all pain and hurt, the one who can spot a deep dark pit that harbors all the hate and anger. You can’t do it. You can’t fix whatever is wrong with them. So stop taking that on. This is a situation where the, “Let go and let God” comes into play. You cannot and are not obligated to fix everything and everyone who is broken. This especially applies to adoptive parents. You’ve done your best (hopefully) to raise them to be hard working, responsible adults with a conscience and a loving heart, ready and willing to serve God and their fellow man. They are adults now. They must choose to live right. Your relationship should and will change. Let it.
  • They are not your peers. If your adult children try to treat you as a peer, don’t allow it. You are the parent and they should respect and honor you. Period.

This was a long one. No pictures. No fancy doo-dads, quips or quotes. Just reality. Let me know your thoughts. But only if you are kind. I’ve had a rough week and it’s only Wednesday.

 

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2 replies on “When Your Child Hurts You – Parenting Tip #45”

Thank you! I stumbled across this…I thought to myself, “how did you know that I really need this advice?!”
My youngest daughter is now 21 years old. My husband just up and left. The girls were 13 and 17. He left without warning. He had been planning everything out for several months. He wanted to screw me over financially and take everything we had worked for. This was our retirement, my maul practice lawsuit money, my Mercedes, used the credit cards that were in my name only, maxed out, out all of the bills in my name only, and was left with $7 in our joint account. That’s how I found out that he filed for divorce. I dropped my girls off at school, as always. I needed to get gas, since my car was on empty. My card was declined and my gas light was on. Looking at my online banking app. I saw $7. I called my husband, of 23 years) and asked, “what happened to all of our money? You got paid today and your check didn’t go in, what happened?” He said, “ it’s my money, I worked for it and I don’t want you spending it!” I was in total shock! I told him that I need gas so I can pick up our daughters from school and then said that he filed for divorce.” I can’t even tell you what I felt like..
my heart dropped into my stomach, feeling like I had just was going to die.
Then he turned my cell phone off. After calling Verizon, they told me that he was the only one who had their name on the account and they said they were unable to do anything, unless I knew the secret password. My first and only priority was getting my daughters back home from school. No house phone and no way to call anyone. Everything I worked so hard for was gone. I sacrificed everything and even worked through the nights, 5 Fay’s or more s week. I had just enough time to get the our girls up and ready for school, not once did they ever have to buy ia school lunch. I even wrote little notes in their lunch boxes to send them my love. They have never, in their entire life, had been late for school, or after school activities. I always had dinner on the table, their homework was done, and bathtub time was what I did, before bed, with a book in hand. I have been the best mom, as I possibly could. I have always put myself last, because that’s what I was supposed to do. I had them for a reason. I decided to bring them into this world, so I was going to do everything I could. Even if I had an hour to get some sleep, sometimes none. I just wish that my youngest daughter realizes how much I went through for both of my daughters. I’m sure that my oldest daughter was able to see it, since she is 3.6 years older and was able to see and remember more;Moreover, she remembered more of her childhood memories and was older than my younger daughter when their dad took off on all of us. sure that they were taken care of. I had no money, food, gas, phone, no way to call anyone, and to make things worse…we just Moved into a miniature mansion. We had only been there for 3 months before, I found out his narcissistic plans. Why would a husband have his family move into a house that the monthly payment of $3000.00? Not including any utilities, cable, alarm system, or internet. Those were over $600 every month on top of that!
I just got home and fell to the floor and wept like I had never had before. I was having a breakdown and I was alone, no phone to call for anything that I had to do, and quickly. I was new to SSF CA. We lived in SB for our entire time together. I just had to do something about letting my daughters know that “my phone was broken.” And that, one of the moms were going to take them home. I just went to the lady’s house nextdoor. With my eyes swollen and tears that never seemed to stop. I had to tell her about the situation I was in. I wanted to use her phone to call another parent and to text my oldest daughter. I just told her that her friends mother was going to take them home. Their dad had just abandoned his own daughters. I’m seriously going to be the one that told them…. they are going to be devastated!
It wasn’t for another woman, he wanted to be free of anything else, but himself. He took my car, phone off, no money, no food , not even Christmas would he just leave us with some milk, eggs, or bread. He wouldn’t even give us a dollar. In between, from the time he left, let’s just say a mother who loves her children will do ANYTHING to put a roof over there head, make sure they’re fed, and got to school.
Which I managed to for an agonizing, year of my life.
I finally got to the steps of the process, which was the angry one, the fighter that I have always had been, finally was able to get there and I was just not angry. I was ready to do anything I could possibly do, he needed to give us what he should have never taken in the first place. Women have to put their big girl panties on and not backing out, that ladies will only do you more harm than good. I know it’s easier to do nothing. I have been there and been able to follow through with what I started. Mostly all women have to go through different stages of emotions, when they have been left by their husbands. I went through them all over again and again. I finally asked for help, my dad let me borrow $5000 for an attorney, who turned out to be an angel. Thank goodness, for this beautiful soul! I will forever be greatful got saving me. She was just a really good friend to me of course she was my attorney, but after a 5 year court battle, we became very good friends.
We finally got what we wanted; Although, it was a long hard road to get there. The interface was a very hardcore emotional game that lead me to move to Sac CA. I never wanted to see his face again, I had so much hatred for this man. I never thought that he would have ever done the things he had to me or our daughters.
They didn’t want to see him, they hated him too. Deep down, I know that you can feel like you hate him, but you only hate someone because you love them. He let them down and he still does. I know that my youngest daughter is a really good girl, she has always been my little girl, who would hold and hug me when I had no one else. If I’m sick, she takes care of me, if I cut myself, she cleans it up and makes sure that I don’t get an infection. She does it when I sleep, when I would have nightmares and PTSD from all of the traumatic experiences I have had gone through.
When she graduated from high school, we started college together. We are going to be finishing up our fourth year now. I’m also her “punching bag “ and takes her anger out on me. She talks to me like I had been the person that put her here and I no it’s not right. I just want to be treated like she now treats her Dad.
He still puts his needs first , fills his plate an fridge with food, and goes on vacations, he always has a lack of empathy for her. When he doesn’t have the money to give to me, it affects her too. We both know how much we need and love each other. I know how hard it must be for her and I hate when she takes it to the next level of verbal abuse and disrespectful words that makes me feel like I have done a horrible job of being a mom. I can yell back, I can tell her that it’s not my fault, she should be able to take her angered words out on her Dad. She had in the past, she even told him to leave our house and kicked him out.
He hurt them , but I always wanted them to have a relationship with their Dad. I was the one who encouraged them to see him (when he wasn’t doing something) he must really have been a great liar, because I would never have thought that he could ever do what he did to his family. I was a great wife, loyal to the end and always been a great mother to my daughters. I did the best that I could possibly have done and still do.
I just want her to know that, I know that she has been through hell and I know that she says things she should be able to get her angers out of her and tell her dad how much he hurt her. Then except the fact that he will never change. He will always put himself before anyone. Just to move one and accept it.
Once she’s able to get her anger out and then move forward, she will be a much better person and I will have my sweet daughter back.
That’s all I want, my daughter to not blame me for the things that he is doing.

So sorry to hear about all the trouble. Sometimes people are just broken and we can’t fix them – like your husband. We forget it’s them and not us. We can be as faithful as the day is long and people will still mistreat and be disloyal. But that doesn’t mean we have to let their behavior dictate ours. It sounds like you are on the right course and thriving. Keep it up. I’m impressed that you are in school and pressing in. One day your daughter will see the truth and move on. It takes a while for kids who have been traumatized to grow past it. Most of mine have. Some haven’t yet. I’m hopeful.

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