Psycho-Babble Social Thread 254069

Shown: posts 1 to 8 of 8. This is the beginning of the thread.


Home Again (long)

Posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:48:30

I am back from California, and it was wonderful. Jared is all moved in. We did the obligatory last-minute rush to Target to pick up essentials (toothbrush to clothes hangers), and even squeaked a visit in to Macy's, to find the "just-right" pillow. Jared had long ago "checked out and moved on," so we had an unemotional farewell. I ... really ... get the sense ... that he just doesn't like me. You know? It's been like that for awhile. Him snapping at me, or chiding me to "be nicer to Grandma and Grandpa" during moments when I've felt -- well, "snappy" myself.

I think his greatest loyalty is to his grandparents and his father. Oh well. I did the best I could.

Yesterday I was pretty bummed out. In addition to trying to digest and comprehend the fact that my "baby" was gone ... I continue to work through the Paul thing, and if "the Paul thing" has done any good in serving as a distraction from sorrows about saying goodbye to Jared ... I suppose that's not a bad thing. I ... truly ... don't know.

On one of my return flights home, I sat next to a Vietnam Vet (with a baseball cap which identified him so) and was going to ask him how he was getting along -- but, his breath smelled of alcohol, and this was a morning flight. Then, shortly after my decision to keep my thoughts to myself, he was asked to switch seats with his girlfriend because she wasn't comfortable with the responsibilities involved sitting in the emergency exit row.

So ...

I talked with one of Paul's friends last night (it's too long and complicated to note names and relationships) who feels he is truly mentally ill. I can't decide. I keep going over all the things he did that never sat right (from small arguments, to larger arguments to cheating on me and using crack, for God's sake). I keep ... trying ... to set myself straight here -- so I can see straight.

In the meantime, I've told him I miss him, that I feel bonded to him, etc. But I've also said that I believe my attachment borders on addiction ... unhealthy in itself ... that hearing from him was my "fix," and ... shoot. I hate the mess I've made of things.

My mother. My brother. Two of my sisters. Most of my friends. They all know Paul's substance-abuse issues and believe I've been working to cut things off and move on .... And here I've been ... encouraging him.

I just don't understand myself.

I am still reading "How to Break Your Addiction to a Person," and rereading parts that seem especially germane. I am also still responding to men who've left messages on the voice mail connected to my personal ad. Maybe I just need ... a couple of dates ... with someone ... anyone ... ideally, someone healthy, of course. Just a couple of dates to break that hold ... then move on. Truth is, I'll soon be too busy with teaching to wonder or worry ... (and too busy to start something new).

In fact, I don't want something new. I just want my old life back. The unattached life.

If any of you have experience with some of the things I've discussed here ... dealing with the empty nest when children leave ... adding Light and understanding to this stupid mess I've gotten myself in with Paul ... encouragement re. getting my classroom ready (with parent conferences starting tomorrow!), and/or just all around cheer -- I'd love hearing from you.

Thanks, Temmie


Oops. Double Quotes

Posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:55:31

In reply to Home Again (long), posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:48:30

I forgot to note the book referenced above in double quotes. It's really quite good ....

"How to Break Your Addiction to a Person"



Re: Home Again (long) Temmie

Posted by fallsfall on August 25, 2003, at 22:33:02

In reply to Home Again (long), posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:48:30

Welcome home! I've missed you.

My daughter leaves for her Junior year in college tomorrow. My son leaves for Basic Training in the Army. He signed on for 6 years. That's a third of his life! They both live with their dad (just down the street), but I am used to having contact with them (my son won't even have a computer for more than 9 weeks!).

My 15 year old and I had a major fight last night and she went to sleep at her dad's. With that house emptied out she may spend more time there - she has been with me all the time. I'm terrified that I won't be able to handle her being gone (the last time she spent time there I went into the hospital).

So yes, the empty house is pretty scary! I know I have to put more activities in my week. The kids were filling the weeks up, but that won't be true really soon. We'll see how it goes.

One thing my daughter at college does is she always leaves an AOL IM Away message up. That way I know when she has a test, or is playing frisbee, or is going to a movie. It means I can connect with her whenever I need to and know what she is doing - without interrupting or bothering her.

Paul. This is so hard for you. But you do know what you need to do. And just because you talked with him once, that doesn't mean everything is out the window. It's like a diet. You do the best you can, and when you have trouble you just try to get back on track. You know that there is more to Paul than you saw (i.e. the abuse). But he filled a need for you - an important need - and that is why you still miss him. There ARE other ways to fill that need. If you can figure out what the need is, then you have a better chance of figuring out how to fill it.

Another poster, Kara Lynne, was having a hard time not calling her ex. We would advise her: Don't Call Him. Sounds like good advice for you?

How old are your students? What subject/s do you teach?

I love the Fall. I'm in New England, so the air gets crisp (sweater weather), and the leaves get pretty and cover the ground.


Re: Home Again (long)

Posted by Tabitha on August 26, 2003, at 1:03:52

In reply to Home Again (long), posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:48:30

Hi Temmie, well I can't relate to the newly empty nest-- my nest has always been empty except for the one bird-- me. I'm trying to make it nicer though by doing some home improvement and redecorating. On the dating front.. no activity for me right now. I hope that changes soon, but for now I'm not really making any effort.

For your situation-- wow, that guy really triggered something in you. Do you ever think it might be better to also set some limits on talking about him to his friends and family? It probably just keeps the obsession going. My therapist used to patiently counsel me through long-lasting obsessions with unavailable men, and one of her tricks was to have me spend a day where I didn't do any seeking behavior, and didn't obsess. It was kind of a relief, since the obsession itself was so tiring. I apologize if I already shared this-- it's the most useful trick I have. Maybe you could give yourself some little Paul vacations.


Re: thanks (nm) Temmie

Posted by Dr. Bob on August 26, 2003, at 1:05:07

In reply to Oops. Double Quotes, posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:55:31


Tabitha and FallsFall

Posted by Temmie on August 26, 2003, at 7:34:04

In reply to Home Again (long), posted by Temmie on August 25, 2003, at 20:48:30

Good hearing from you both ... and good ideas. I liked the notion of looking at my behaviors as "slips" (as when dieting), and adopting the attitude that I just need to pick up again. Makes me think of smiling when you feel ill .... You know, "faking it until you're making it." Have you heard that? Maybe if I can just "fake" or go along with the plan (which my better wisdom advises) that I'm letting go ... and just keep working that plan .... Eventually I'll get there. Thank goodness there's such distance between the two of us.

Tabitha, I also like your idea about not obsessing for one day. One day at a time. This book I keep mentioning ("How to Break Your Addiction to a Person") is really quite good -- and has interesting stuff in there about what the author terms "attachment hunger" (left over from childhood days), and ... well -- when I'm more awake and have the book handy, I'll share more of his theories. Very interesting. Very helpful. There's also a list of "aphorisms" in the back (the book is old, today I believe they'd be called affirmations), and one of them is: "If it's still the same in five or ten years, would you still want it?"

People don't change.

* * * * *

On to Jared, I was checking his email last night, and found an outgoing email to his girlfriend -- which (gasp) I read. He talked about getting drunk with friends and falling off the dock into the lake. Then jumping in fully clothed and losing his Birkenstocks -- then finding the Birkenstocks, etc. etc. etc. He talked about his tearful farewell and apologized for his depression (!) .... I felt ... and feel ... so bad.

I didn't mention last night, but when I was moving him into his dorm, I took a big swig out of a water bottle and found it was full of vodka. (!) It made me sick that he'd been drinking and driving all these weeks leading up to his departure -- and, aside from that, of course -- that he felt he needed alcohol -- in a school that has a strictly outlined "no substance abuse" policy.

I didn't take it away though. I just said, "Jeez, is this vodka?" then cautioned him to be careful. He's an adult now. I didn't say that, but the meaning was implied.

When leaving, I wished I had something more prophetic to say. You know, "that's one small step for a man ... one giant leap ...." Instead, I told him to be careful. How did it go? Something like, "Don't drink from your water bottle all in one sitting, and don't drink in your room by yourself and get all sad and weepy ...."

Can you imagine?

I feel like such a flop of a mom, but I guess -- intuitively -- I knew he was sad and weepy .... And that was one of the things he mentioned to his girlfriend. Apologies for "blubbering" and crying and being depressed.

What should I do now? I hope this family malaise doesn't follow Jared .... He's a National Merit Scholar, by the way, and got nearly a free-ride scholarship to this premier liberal arts college. He's smart. But emotionally smart?

I wonder what I should do.

Well, ladies ... I'm off to find some breakfast and to ready my third-grade classroom. I have hours of sweat and toil before me (how I long for crisp autumn days and sweater weather!), and a parent coming in after lunch. Wonder if I can get my furniture rearranged and boxes unpacked by then?

XXX, Temmie


Re: Tabitha and FallsFall Temmie

Posted by fallsfall on August 26, 2003, at 8:32:57

In reply to Tabitha and FallsFall, posted by Temmie on August 26, 2003, at 7:34:04

I think you sound like a great mother. You acknowledged that he is an adult, and that you can't follow him around and make sure he does the right thing. You gave him some advice to keep him safer (though they don't appear to hear these things, I find that they do hear, and they do follow the things we say). You didn't make him feel like a 10 year old, but you got your point across. Your "weepy" reference sounds perfect - the way my therapist will hit on something that I wasn't really aware of. I'd say he is a lucky kid, and that you've done really well.

It is hard to drop them off at college and drive away. Very hard.

I will drop my son off this afternoon at the Army Recruiting station. He leaves for Basic Training. He signed on for 6 years. He's doing Satellite Communication - that should be good. He's very excited. He won't even have a computer for at least 9 weeks. This is hard, too.

3rd grade!! All 3 of my kids had the same teacher for 3rd and 4th grade (combined classroom). She was the absolute best. What a great age. Enjoy them.


Re: Tabitha and FallsFall fallsfall

Posted by Temmie on August 26, 2003, at 16:35:32

In reply to Re: Tabitha and FallsFall Temmie, posted by fallsfall on August 26, 2003, at 8:32:57

Dear Fallsfall. Thank you so much. Your words of kindness have meant a great deal. I talked with Jared's dad today, who took a completely different stance (you should have taken the booze away and poured it out). I've had wavering concerns ... particularly since depression runs in the family (and substance-abuse is a tough topic for me right now). Again, I appreciate your words.

Best wishes delivering your son to the U.S. Armed Forces tomorrow! Are you worried? They'll make a man of him ... and I'm excited (and relieved) that he's excited (and that you sound relieved). Hmmmm. I hope I'm making sense here.

My room is ALMOST done. There was a big warning in today's paper about limiting things we can hang on the walls due to fire hazards .... That makes things easier! :-) I'll put up my cursive alphabet tomorrow, and -- hopefully -- start figuring out that "first week back at school curriculum."

Much, much love to you!


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