The Ugly Strings

Dear Parent,

Being of the bootstrap type, I am not one to wallow long in disappointments.  Brush off, jump back up: my motto.  Then, there are times when my relational failures with my children break my heart.  I am disappointed to the core that I cannot intervene in the whirlwind that is my child at this point in her young adult life.  And, I have to face the fact that it is not in my control.  She has her own trajectory.

For the last four months she was back home, I wondered when my feelings of hope and faith would run out.  How many times could I be manipulated, lied to, and used before I would wake up with nothing in my heart?  It turns out that love does matter, and it persists beyond reason.  I am disappointed to find that my ability to hang in here with hope and faith for a different outcome has pooped out.

Once again, I am the bitchy, bad mother; the adoptive mother who never had anything to offer except money and defective parenting.  Once again, I am rejected and cutoff for setting a boundary that I felt had to be set.  In the process I took the low road a couple of times. I am not proud. I am, however, continually humbled by the deep-seated effects of trauma and abandonment on the psyche of young children.

Eventually, down the road, my daughter will come back in need.  Her glasses will break; her ankle will twist; the system will be unfair; she will be hungry, homeless, helpless.  She will come back to my doorstep in tail-tucked, desperation, calling me Mommy.  I usually meet the need because she is my baby, my heart.  I love her dearly and it rarely goes well. She feels ashamed, a failure, beholden for needing me.  My expectations for her to use my help wisely scares and burdens her until she lashes out.  Heads or tails, I may or may not lash back; and around we go one more time. That is our well-worn dance.

I always want to take a different path with her, but it is tricky for me.  I am kind of twisted up.  My husband in frustration asks, What would you tell a parent in your office?  He thinks I have magic words there that I don’t apply to myself, but I don’t really.  I honestly cannot unravel enough to get a clear thought.  That is the way of attachment entanglements. For awhile, one cannot think.

I do, however, know the path; it is just freaking hard to walk it.  Here it is: only give love and other stuff freely, without strings of expectation for my daughter doing right by me.  My child does not have the personality structure to do right by me.  Why does she have to do right by me? That is my thinking that keeps the entangled dance going.  Those are the strings I attach to my love and my financial support.  If I cannot cut those strings, we marionettes will continue doing what we do.

My emotional work is right in my face.  I might need a chain saw to cut these strings. Come hell or high water (I have no idea what that actually means), I am going to get it done. Brush off, jump back up.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,

Ce

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The next 8-hr. Trust-based Parent Training is scheduled for June 18th and 25th from 12 noon to 4 pm.  $200 per two person couple.  Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up, email ce@attachplace.com and I will register you.

TIME CHANGE: Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 6pm to 8pm.  Group and childcare are free.

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To buy your very own copy of Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT, go toAmazon.com or www.attachplace.com/drowing-hair-fire.  Please be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon.  Thank you.

 

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