Letting go emotionally

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Letting go emotionally

I'm new to this forum.  I have a 16 y/o son who struggles a lot with social and emtional issues.  He has very few friends, he struggles with time management, impulse control, the ability to take accountability etc... He most definitely has ADHD but medication has had too many side effects.  About four months ago a difficult bullying situation was brought to our attention (following several other, non-related bullying incidents where he was targeted over the past few years in high school).  It was a situation that pushed every one of my buttons and I essentially had a nervous break down (panic attacks, stopped sleeping, required medication for sleep).  I have always been a very emotionally involved mom. I'm a mental health practitioner myself who helps teens and their parents navigate this difficult stage. I think my emotional crash was heightened because I felt that I should know better how to handle it all.  Now, four months later, I am not in as a consistent difficult emotional place, but I find myself worrying so much about him and have had several anxiety back slides as well.  The fact that he can very difficult to parent makes the situation more complicated because he is not what you'd consider a meek "victim" like some bully targets.  I am wondering if anyone else is trying to find some distance from their teen's emotional roller coaster, while still remaining loving and supportive.  The parenting difficulties even began to stress our marriage. We have four therapists that we are seeing currently (one for me, one for my husband, one for my 16 y/o and a family therapist).  I thought hearing from other parents who may understand the vascillating emotions of worry, frustration, anger and all the positives (love, pride, relief) when things are occasionally going well...would help me find my balance.  

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Letting go emotionally

Hi @eliis16, firstly, a big welcome to the forum! I'm so sorry to hear of the struggle you're facing and the impact it has had on you. You sound like such a loving mum, and an awesome one too. Thank you for sharing your situation with us, and it's certainly one I can relate to! My daughter has a triad of mental illnesses, and I have done so much work learning how to manage her behaviours more effectively.

 

She's been home with me for the past 2 years, one of those doing distance education, and this is the year she is venturing back out into the world and going to TAFE to embark on her chosen career. That is the plan at least - we're yet to see how she copes with it all! 

 

The stress and the worry and the toll it takes dealing with it all can be very overwhelming at times. I completely get that feeling of believing of "I know better", when I'm not coping so well. I've even had times on here thinking "you're a fraud!!". Here I am supporting other parents and giving suggestions, when I'm not always on top of the game myself! Similar to you, I also know I need to keep some emotional distance, as this is her journey too, not mine, but it's somuch easier said than done. Theory is often so much easier discussed than actioned, don't you agree?!

 

My daughter has bipolar and because I'm on that emotional rollerocaster with her, the depths and the highs, I've started to wonder if I have it too!! My daughter is head strong, determined and stubborn which has me turning inside out sometimes, as it does make her more difficuly to parent, as you say with your son.

 

It's awesome that you're so well connected with professional help. I hope that provides you some additional strength. You are certainly not alone on that emotional rollercoaster. Knowing that certainly has given me comfort, and made me feel less isolated in the parenting world. It also allows me to feel more accepting of my perceived flaws as a parent. 

 

Hang in there, and remember we're always here to offer support. 

Prolific scribe

Re: Letting go emotionally

Hi @eliis16@taokat boy do I relate to what you are experiencing as a parent of a  teen . I laugh because all of the behaviours you describe : lack of impulse control , emotional extortion , poor time management , no  accountability , mood swings , volatility , rudeness , selfishness , determined , headstrong  are  ALL my teen and she  HAS ZERO mental health issues lol 😂 So what's her bloody excuse ! Lol 😂 

You are both dealing with a lot , much more than parents of teens without mental health issues and the need to create some emotional distance is a very bloody good idea !! 

You will be not have enough strength to be the best parent you can be if you don't . 

Children will suck you dry with their on going emotional manipulations  if you let them . It is important you self protect . Choosing your battles is imperative , choosing your reactions is also imperative and yes it's an on going work in progress . You will fail sometimes and unwittingly get caught up in their drama but keep at it and you will get better at it across time . 

Guilt is not a parents best friend , and giving in to their emotional whims is  self sabotage ! 

Creating emotional distance ( despite what you want to do ) sends the message they cannot use this behaviour to get what they want , when they want it , and you save your sanity .  My mum did not create emotional distance from my brother ( who is bipolar ) and ended up with Schizophrenia.  - Yes that is what  chronic severe anxiety can morph into  if you are unable to extricate yourself from co - dependency and emotional emeshment 

with someone who has  ongoing mental health problems . You have a right to be a healthy person before you are a parent - it's ok and it's not selfish 

 

 

 

Mod

Re: Letting go emotionally

Hello thank you for sharing this story @eliis16 It does sound like an emotional roller-coaster indeed. Your self-care is paramount. What'd you think of our members suggestions above? Heart

Scribe

Re: Letting go emotionally

I to have a soon to be 16 year old son with many mental issues.  I have allowed his actions to go on.  You take care of them when they are babies, and eventually one day they are supposed to step up right?  Well here we are at 16.  He has ADHD, anxiety, depression, ODD, and epilespy.  My days consists of waking him up, making sure he gets out of the shower in a timely manner, fight with him to eat so he can take meds, get him off to school.  Then worry and pray no issues at school.  Next make sure he gets homework done.  He frequently lies and says he has none.  Then fight with him to eat dinner, eat snack, take meds, and get to bed.  He sees a behavoir therepist.  We are just starting this therapist, and have not really gotten anywhere. Meanwhile my anxiety grows.  I am seeking help of a new counselor to help me to try to let go of some things and watch him fail.  She suggested I see a psychiatrist and get some meds to help.  I am exhausted.  We have been trying to change schools to see if that helps, but so far no room, or denied due to behavoir.  Running of of schools to try.  Not sure I want to do the online school to add to my stress of parenting and teaching too.  Just most resistance from him.  Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Community Manager

Re: Letting go emotionally

Hi @annmkon and welcome to the forums.

 

What a stressful and difficult situation you are in given the things that you have to deal with on a daily basis- it is no wonder that you are feeling exhausted and anxious.  My heart truly goes out to you.

 

It is really great that you are seeking professional help for both your son, and yourself and whilst it sounds like it is taking some time for your son to find any comfort from this process I urge you to stick with it!  I think that seeking counselling for yourself is also an amazing step and was a process that has really helped me deal with my own anxiety.

 

Whilst the routine that you describe sounds incredibly draining and stressful one little thing that really helped me was to celebrate the 'little victories' that occur each day and to allow myself a moment of satisfaction and acknowledge the positives of the day.  It sounds like you are doing an amazing job under really trying circumstances!

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Letting go emotionally

Hi @annmkon, my heart really goes out to you too. Your story was so familiar to me and I remember doing all the same things as you to try and make sure my daughter took her meds and the struggle to get to school. We were turned away from all services because of my daughter's behaviour (she was volatile and aggressive). We did get into one place for an inhouse treatment, but only because they had no other families there! It's SO hard when you really need the help but can't get it because your child is managing so poorly. (i.e really, really needs help!!). 

 

It's great that your son has started with this new therapist. Sometimes it can take time as he will be learning new things and then needing to remember to use those tools when he needs to. It takes practice, but I hope your son sticks with it. 

 

I was so concerned about my daughter doing distance ed too, for the same reasons as you! They assured me though that it was up to them to do the teaching and although I did check in to see if she'd done the work and was up to date, I did put the onus back on my daughter and we spoke a lot about her choices and the consequences her schooling choices would have on her future. 

 

One thing my daughter's old high school did was almost cut out homework, except for group projects. Sometimes homework can be more detrimental in the bigger picture, it's just not worth the added stress it brings at home! Would that be something you could talk with the school about?

 

Counselling for you is awesome too. It is really difficult, it's exhausting and getting some support I found to be really helpful too. 

 

ReachOut offer free parent coaching which I also found really helpful in setting boundaries with my daughter, but they can help you come up with solutions for whatever you're needing help wth. It's very individual. Have a look a the link here to read more about it, or to sign up. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: Letting go emotionally

It has been some time since I read this forum, but this post really resonated with me. Thankyou to those who suggested emotional distance, and self preservation. For the last twelve months or more we have been dealing with a son who continues to fight his own demons, dragging us along for the ride. Well, we have just about reached the end of the ride I feel, and now I must practise emotional distance and self preservation. 

 

My my son is using dope, stealing our car and driving it around, at 15, getting beaten up, had the worst school report of his life -slipped from ABs to failure DEs. He has a part time casual fast food job that he always gets to, but often doesn’t come home after shift, and we have no idea where he is.  I have spent most of the school holidays away from home to see if maybe Dad/son time is an answer. Not really, no significant change or effort on son’s behalf. We have found an independent housing situation he could move to, but he is digging in his heels and refusing to agree to their rules, which in all honesty, are the same as home. But there, if he doesn’t comply, there is an immediate consequence. I feel this is where we are failing. No immediate consequences for. His failure to do as we ask,  simple stuff like be here for a meal and a discussion!  

 

So, how to practise self preservation and emotional distance is my challenge for 2018. The comment that this has to be the teen’s Journey was so helpful. I will feel like c**p as I put some distance there, but the rescuing for me, has to stop. 

Highlighted
Super frequent scribe

Re: Letting go emotionally

It has been some time since I read this forum, but this post really resonated with me. Thankyou to those who suggested emotional distance, and self preservation. For the last twelve months or more we have been dealing with a son who continues to fight his own demons, dragging us along for the ride. Well, we have just about reached the end of the ride I feel, and now I must practise emotional distance and self preservation. 

 

My my son is using dope, stealing our car and driving it around, at 15, getting beaten up, had the worst school report of his life -slipped from ABs to failure DEs. He has a part time casual fast food job that he always gets to, but often doesn’t come home after shift, and we have no idea where he is.  I have spent most of the school holidays away from home to see if maybe Dad/son time is an answer. Not really, no significant change or effort on son’s behalf. We have found an independent housing situation he could move to, but he is digging in his heels and refusing to agree to their rules, which in all honesty, are the same as home. But there, if he doesn’t comply, there is an immediate consequence. I feel this is where we are failing. No immediate consequences for. His failure to do as we ask,  simple stuff like be here for a meal and a discussion!  

 

So, how to practise self preservation and emotional distance is my challenge for 2018. The comment that this has to be the teen’s Journey was so helpful. I will feel like c**p as I put some distance there, but the rescuing for me, has to stop.