Struggling With Parenting Issue, Personal Behaviors And Chronic Pain

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Don't trip

I thought I'd better start a new thread, rather than hijack Raven's.

This is very hard for me to write, but necessary because I find myself in a very painful place with my children and it has caused major triggers for me. I know this is something I MUST look at realistically in my efforts to make amends with my children.

My son and his boy friend (bf) (a diagnosed narcissist) were staying with me to help me out and to prepare to care for me after my sciatica flare as well as a surgery coming up in May.

I knew the bf was a narcissist, as he told me this in a casual conversation as I noticed behaviors from him that were concerning. I opted out of listening to myself in that it probably was not wise to let him stay with us, but my son is emotionally dependent upon this person, even if he won't admit it.

It has been a nightmare. It took me a while to recognize that I was a target while he was with us. This began to show in abusive behavior toward my dog and occasional comments about my behavior that he said he was observing that needed fixing. While my son was at work, he would 'stalk' me around the house at times, and if he was in a bitchy mood, he would torture my dog, tell me he wasn't properly trained, hit him on he nose when he pooped in the house (My dog has a weak bladder because of his own spine issues), yell at my dog, grab him and hold onto him as he was flailing about, which he knew would upset me. He knew how much I loved my dog. How protective I was about him. I told him over and over, NOT to taunt, or hurt my boy. He continued to do it, then would yell at me because of his 'inadequate' training.

I didn't share any of this with my son. I felt it was his relationship and he needed to see it for himself. I didn't care for the way his bf appeared fake as soon as my son walked in the door, he would instantly change personas. It's the only way I can describe it. My son is very affectionate and loving. His bf was affectionate as a pet rock, preferring to spend most of his time on the computer (all day) chatting with his best friend 45 minutes away. I knew he wanted to move back there. Again, I did not tell my son how he was treating me or the dog.

Last weekend, he heard my dog whining for food, as he always does during dinner. I've learned to tune this out, as has my boys, and they love the dog too. His bf could not. This time, however, he was in a different room (the bf) on the computer, with headphones on, but he came into my room, grabbed my dog and left, scolding him. I got up and went to the kitchen where I always put my plate on the floor so my boy could lick it clean. The bf completely wigged out on me. His face was filled with rage. He told me how sick he was of my placating my dog, sick of his whining, and so he picked him up again and took him to the living room. My dog knowing there was food on a plate for him, was again flailing in his arms and I heard my dog yelp, as if in pain. I was immediately pissed and told him to put my dog down RIGHT NOW. He threw him to the floor, came into the kitchen and began to yell. I told him, DON"T YOU TALK TO ME THAT WAY! I had had enough. My son was here this time and saw what he was doing to the dog and he calmly said, "babe, you need to stop. Babe, stop it".

After a few minutes, I took my dog to my room and shut the door. While there, I heard the front door close. My son and bf had gone for a walk. When they got back, my son put a status on his facebook (fb) that said, "they all leave in the end". I WAS BEYOND ANGRY HERE! I KNEW what the bf was doing and I KNEW this was far more than about the dog. He wanted to go live with his best friend, wife and to live closer to his mother. He purposely caused the problem with the dog to target and piss me off. I know better when it comes to narcissists and their behavior. This was classic. I responded on fb saying, "really, bf? Over a dog?" My daughter chimed in that she knew it was more than about a dog too and then we left it at that. The next day, he was acting charming and nice, as if nothing ever happened. Again, disordered behavior. I responded by ignoring what happened too, again, classic 'victim' behavior. so we were chatting it up and then he said, "Oh, I responded to that thread you and your daughter responded to on your son's status." He was so NICE when he said it, it didn't dawn on me that it would be anymore than an apology for what he had done.

I was wrong. I got onto the computer, while he stood in the living room, waiting for my reaction. I couldn't believe what I was reading. He called me an emotional abuser, then proceeded to write out my personal 'cycles' of abuse with my son. He said that my son said I was an abuser and was just too afraid to tell me. He also said the same about my other son who lives here with me.

I was devastated. . .

This is the same kind of exploitation that I endured in all of my abusive relationships. This was a smear campaign. I looked at him and said, "Emotional abuser??? REALLY BF??" at which he began to yell at me, rage at me.....I didn't hear the words. I got up and left and before I did, I told him I wanted him OUT OF MY HOUSE IMMEDIATELY. When I returned home, he was HAPPILY Packing his crap, had done it in a very short period of time, and waited for his friend to show up from the town he was from. It was a 45 minute to 1 hour drive. His friend showed up in twenty minutes. The bf had this planned. he knew that once he wrote that, I would throw him out. It was exactly what he wanted me to do. When his friend got here, he was so happy, he could barely contain himself,chatting with his friend etc. He didnt' bother to tell my son that he had left. He lied and said he cried all the way to this new town, which I knew was BULLSHIT.

I was completely triggered. I felt completely transported back in time, two years ago when the ex did the smear campaign when we parted. I was beside myself. I had no recourse, could say nothing. Some of my personal friends are on my son's fb. I was embarrassed, humiliated. they believed him because they assumed since he lived with me that this was all truth and it wasn't. As it is with the disordered, he left out very important pieces of the story that included his disruptions and his own behavior that would have put an entirely different light on the story. He didn't want to look like the bad guy for discarding my son. He lied to him, protesting his love for him, while showing him that this wasn't love at all.

I was reacting. For days. I felt betrayed by my sons for not telling me that they felt this way. I had many conversations with the narcissist with regards to my PTSD and was very open about it. I should not have been. He used all of it, as a weapon of exploitation. My sons and I have had many, many conversations about my past behavior and my willingness to work on it. I have worked very, very hard in my recovery. I have asked them over and over, to the point of angering my second son in that he insists everything is okay and that nothing is wrong. He would tell me if there was, straight up. With what the bf said, it apparently was NOT being straight up with me. They know my triggers and I've invited them to please talk with me if they feel uncomfortable with anything I say or do. I have always been wiling to work on things that bother them, in order to make amends with them and foster a healthy relationship between us. I feel so wounded, I was not able to hear their insistence that nothing of what the bf said was true FOR THEM, yet my son remains with the bf. My children did not defend anything that was said on that thread. My son didn't take it down for two days. I lost friends that I loved dearly and cared for, two of which were survivors I'd been working with for over a year. Smear campaigns are meant to do tremendous damage to the targets in which it is directed. He blew my family apart and he knew with my PTSD, he could exploit and my reactions. He did it with precision, like a surgeon.

I do not trust my sons. I feel betrayed. It spoke directly to my abuse. I have been very depressed and despairing. All that I believed was real between us, I no longer believe is.

One of the things about disordered abusers is that they take grains of truth and distort and twist them into exaggerations the size of a goodyear blimp, to make themselves the victim, to justify their deviant actions. In this case, to discard my son, using me to do it. He wrote my middle son an FB message telling him he needed to pack his things because I was determined to abandon him and to 'stay safe'. The little bastard. I also found out he had attached spy ware to my computer and was stalking me. I asked my son about this and the bf admitted it.

None of this stopped until my son told the bf to knock it off. I also wrote him a message, having copied and pasted the message he sent to my son and told him I would file a restraining order against him if he didn't IMMEDIATELY cease and desist contact with me and my son.

I have made more of a mess of things out of my pain and despair. I told my sons that I didn't trust. That this was so painful to me, that I needed space and time before I could address it again. I'm still in pain.

Now, the truths of what he the bf said about me: After having nearly a week to think about this, the grains of truth in what he said, are things I genuinely need to look at about myself. These things are hard, but if I want recovery, I have to be willing to look at them.

I have been in denial to some degree, about the intensity of my PTSD. I have also been in denial about limitations, all to which I have forged through life, running away from labels, believing I could overcome it, listening to externals in that I could beat this if I just put my mind to it. Chalking my chronic pain issues up to somatic problems, rather than the reality that they are organic. Everyone has back issues, right? Big deal, right? Everyone's spines are deteriorating, right? People have autoimmune disorders and deal with them beautifully,right? I don't exercise enough, although I am extremely active. I take the focus off my pain so much, that when I had my first sciatica flare last month, it took two days to get bad enough to warrant an ER trip because the pain was too much to ignore. It would not be the first time I have done this. When you're told by your abusers enough that it's all in your head, combined with he medical community, you start to believe it. I didn't realize just how dangerous this was until it happened to me......again, this time worse.

I have blown off my triggers, while others I've paid attention too. I have blown off behaviors, while others I have put under a microscope. I have black and white thinking that is pathological and work hard to find the gray areas. I wish this one of my gifts, seeing the balance. I have issues with dependence, emotional and financial. I know now from where this comes: fear. I need to look at this with more depth. How much of my inability to work is about my real limitations versus my fear? I have a morbid fear of authority figures. I cannot tolerate abuse of any kind. i struggle with criticism, although if given to me constructively and with respect, I can more than handle it. I hate to say it, but I can't help this part of me. I so desperately want too, but I either fold like a lawn chair, or I react in a way that is inappropriate to the situation. I have pushed myself to the brink in trying to get over it, and in doing so, when an issue comes up where I am faced with a stressor with authority, again, I either fold or react. there is no in between. I can be manipulative and passive aggressive in my effort to be independent while also clinging to my fear. I didn't realize this until the ex bf posted what he did. I feel extremely vulnerable now because I am open to hearing the bad things about me, but they are often exploited, rather than someone sitting down and respectfully pointing it out to me. With my children, my stakes in the past, at times, have been used to hurt me when they have something inside themselves to look at. They can blame me for this and purge themselves of the work they need to do on themselves. This has happened more than once.

While in family therapy with my youngest son while he was in treatment for drug addiction, the therapist and I and my son talked about this. He asked if I had apologized to my children. I told him yes, repeatedly. I have also sat down and wrote them heartfelt letters. He said to me, "you only need to apologize ONCE, then don't do it again.". His point being that they are not allowed to take that apology as a ticket to exploit, punish, manipulate, or abuse. I need to set firm boundaries around this, but my guilt over the pain I caused to them in my relationships with abusers, has made that difficult, if not impossible for me. I've realized I'm tired of apologizing. I'm tired of being hurt. I love my children dearly, but I'm seeing that if there is left over anger, they need to seek therapy. They are all adults now. I realized that I could apologize a million times and for some of them, this would never be enough. Much of this too, is about my ex husband, who abused and abandoned my children. He has never had to answer to their pain, or to take any responsibility for the trauma he caused, never paid child support, no birthday cards, or phone calls. There are times that I feel I'm paying for the pain and abuse he created. I can't anymore, because it's killing me and my recovery.

I'm financially dependent upon my son. It is very little now, but I am done with state assistance, while awaiting social security, which is a year out. Now it just feels wrong. I would rather be a bag lady, then to know that my son feels this way about me, and claims to want to support me. I have a surgery upcoming in May, am seeing my limitations, am vacillating between it's all in my head and out of fear, or that its real. I'm still feeling pain and recovering from my sciatic flare. My PTSD is at its height right now because of what happened. I'm exhausted, very sad, and very afraid of the future now.

I want my son to be free. I don't want him to feel obligated to care for me. I want them all to be free of me. I don't know what's going to happen to me now, but I'm guessing I'll fall through the cracks, and through the trap door of survival. I have nothing left to 'depend' on financially. I cannot take care of myself. I cannot pay bills with nothing. I'm about to lose my car, and I will be homeless unless I can afford to pay my bills.

This next week, I'm going to vocational rehab. I'm going sick and directionless. Voc counselors don't like that. I may need to put off, AGAIN a surgery that is desperately needed in order to find a job.

I have never felt so uncertain and frightened in my life, and all of this is a result of my neglect of limitations, denial of my PTSD and my physical health.

I have taken myself off social media and a break from posting on my blog so I can just be quiet within myself and not allow myself to be triggered and react. That's all I can do at the moment in order to process all of this. I see my therapist Monday, thank God.

Have any of you had behaviors, prior to awareness that you were ashamed of? Have any of you experienced a level of denial with your PTSD where you pushed to get beyond it and found yourself decompensating? Where is the balance?

I have always been a fighter. Always thinking I can beat this, or any illness. Being unrealistic about it has evolved into exhibiting the very behaviors I hate about myself. Passive aggressive, to aggressive, to manipulative, to perfectionism.

I never, ever want to cause pain again to anyone because of my issues. I think this is what is so heartbreaking for me about my son's. The narc had no right to exploit. To take what was so personal and use it to justify his own behavior. But it upsets me more that my son's didn't come to me and share this if they felt that way. I know they know I'm an open door and I've told them that there might be behaviors I exhibit that I'm not aware of and that it's helpful to me in recovery to be held accountable. I can't fix what I am unaware of. Now I know. I can't fix how they feel, but I can detach so there is no enmeshment and dependence. I want them to be happy and free, more than I want that for myself.

Thanks for letting me vent.


I have taken myself off social media and a break from posting on my blog so I can just be quiet within myself and not allow myself to be triggered and react. That's all i can do at the moment in order to process all of this. I see my therapist Monday, thank God.

Have any of you had behaviors, prior to awareness that you were ashamed of? Have any of you experienced a level of denial with your PTSD where you pushed to get beyond it and found yourself decompensating? Where is the balance?
I have always been a fighter. Always thinking i can beat this, or any illness. Being unrealistic about it has evolved into exhibiting the very behaviors I hate about myself. Passive aggressive, to aggressive, to manipulative, to perfectionism.

Sounds like you let it all out!!. LOL you should feel good about yourself for giveing him a peice of your mind, and ashaming him. You told him off good.

Wish you luck on your surgery, and hope it helps with your pain.


After having nearly a week to think about this, the grains of truth in what he said, are things I genuinely need to look at about myself. These things are hard, but if I want recovery, I have to be willing to look at them.
Well done, Don't trip. We all have those areas, and we all need to be honest with ourselves, especially when there are children in the mix. I've said on another thread that it is so easy to think of oneself as a totally innocent victim in ALL areas of one's life after having been a victim in ONE or more areas of one's life.

And not EVERYTHING is PTSD related. People without PTSD or any other diagnosis can be and are assholes. Sometimes we are just assholes and our diagnoses have nothing to do with it.

Don't trip


Hence this is where the confusion lies for me. I realize i can be an 'asshole', however, defining where my assholeness derives is important to me. You cannot fix what you are unaware of. When you become aware, then it's SOLUTION TIME.

I have confusion about what is PTSD, what is not. What is related to my abuse history, which is chronic, which is not.

I have a feeling many of the behaviors that are now coming to awareness derive from fear, which does derive from abuse.

I don't know what the solution is yet. I really don't. I don't know how to accept my limitations. I don't know where the balance is. ...oh my, I just had an epiphany...

When I admit to limitations or in the past when I have felt 'peaceful' about it, the devil on my shoulder tells me i'm lying to myself, I hear the externals, FAKER! LIAR! You're just not applying yourself enough, you're just playing the VICTIM.

I also realize when I read others posts about accepting their limitations, I experience a combination of envy as well as the same bullshit I've been subjected too and're not doing enough, you're using it as an excuse, you're just playing the victim.

UGH. I hate this about myself. I really do. I desperately want to fix it. I hate that my behaviors alienate or cause pain. SOmething I've been working my ass off on in the last two years.

UGH!!! How do you accept your limitations and fears without feeling like a f*cking VICTIM??? HOW? Ugh...


How do you accept your limitations and fears without feeling like a f*cking VICTIM???
I don't want to pretend to have the answer, but I guess it has to do with where your attention goes. If you accept a limitation, it frees up your energy for other areas of your life. As long as you focus on the pain or frustration or unfairness of the limitation - or any aspect of the limitation itself - you go into victim mode.

Just a thought, perhaps others could give enlightening viewpoints.


Don't trip: Just a thought -

The title of this thread is interesting: Parenting Issue, Personal Behaviors And Chronic Pain. These 3 things are totally unrelated, although I DO understand how they are intertwined in your life, and how they could impact on one another. But perhaps you are trying to deal with multiple things at the same time - it's like emotional multi-tasking - and this could become hectic.

Would it help if you separated the issues?


Sorry for what you went through. This bf sounds like a real piece of work. I am glad you stood up to him and he is out of your home.

Your children as well probably suffer from PTSD. After all they went through the same abuse. Sometimes it is hard to tell our parents how we feel because we can feel the need to help them and take care of them and at the same time still hold anger about wrongs that happened. They just may not be able to tell you their innermost fears, anxieties etcetera because they maybe afraid that they will hurt you. This Bf is a disgrace because he knew he would not only be hurting your sons but you. I hope they realize what a creep he is and hang out with friends that respect confidentiality. Who knows, maybe none of what the BF said was true.

Keep your focus on you because that is all you can change. Chronic pain makes life even more difficult. I hope you are able to get your surgery soon and have one less thing to worry about when you are recovered from that.

I hope your poor doggy is ok. I am sure he was traumatized as well. Take care... you are a good mom and are doing your best and as well you are looking at ways to better your life and everyones around you through recovery.


Don't trip chocolate chip.

What I hear from your post is that you have two issues you need to work on. 1) fear 2) loving your children and accepting who they are.

Sugar, your children love you too. Just because they didn't say anything in reference to that horrible jerks comments, doesn't mean they agree with him. It does not mean they stopped loving you. It does not mean they aren't willing to step up to the plate when the chips are down.

Don't even put those "rejection" thoughts in your mind or in earshot of them.

Now. Lets discuss for a second that "fear" issue. It's a biggie. When a mind starts with chronic pain issues, then moves into the PTSD triggers, things can get way out of hand. Which I'm sure you already know. But knowing that, and doing something to stop it in it's tracks are two different things.

I hope you don't mind, but I am speaking to you as though you were a child of mine. Pride is a horrible thing that can ruin many many lives. And my dear woman, you have a lot of pride. I suggest you swallow that pride and look yourself in the mirror. What is more important here, your pride or your happiness and peace of mind? What kind of example are you setting for your children right this second? Stop looking for other people to tell you. You need to answer this one for yourself.

Even though you might not feel it right now, you are being the best mother you know how to be. You are being the best person you know how to be, with the information you have. So stop beating yourself up. It sets a bad example for your children. You don't want them to think it's okay to beat them selves up, do you?

I believe going to Vocational Rehabilitation is a good thing. They are going to assess rather you are able to work again or not. Now don't allow that pride to step in again. Facing things that scare you is part of healing. It might hurt initially, but in the long term of things, it is necessary and is very healing.

You have raised your children to be who they want to be. Now it's time for you to be who you want to be.

I am so proud of you for writing your thoughts and feelings down for others to help you. Good job. Good job. Now, go wash your face. Blow your nose. Go potty. Wash your hands. Then, go step outside and breathe in some good air. Go for a little walk and look around you. Even if you can only walk to the front porch, just do it.

End of motherly lecture 2.



"Like" everything safenow said a bunch of times!

Way to vent Don't Trip! Wow. And what an unholy mess.

So I agree with Pencil. It sounds like you have a right tangle of things to deal with. So take those deep breaths that safenow recommends and decide which thread you are going to start trying to untangle. One thing at a time. No one ever climbed a mountain more than one step at a time. You'll get there.

And let your kids have their own say. If they have a problem with you, give them the honor of letting them come to you with it themselves. Don't listen to gossip or heresay. If they have a problem, you've asked them to come to you, let them do it or not as they choose. It is not respecting their boundaries to push beyond what they answer to your questions.

You might want to put clearing out some of that guilt about their growing up situation on your list of therapy topics. You've done what you can to make amends, and are committed to healing and making yourself available to them. That's all anyone CAN do. No one can un-ring a bell.

How do you accept your limitations and fears without feeling like a f*cking VICTIM?
I can't speak to the emotional side of it, but the solution on the cognitive side is to do some reality testing. If you think you might have a limitation look at the data - maybe even do the experiment. "It is what it is." Would I like to be able to eat carbohydrates in unlimited quantities? I would. And when I do I feel like :poop: and I swell up. This took me about six times of repeating the experiment. Now I look at a big bowl of chips and think - "Hmm, feel like poop, swell up for three days? Rats. I guess not". My H is a faster learner. We figured out he was gluten intolerant, and it took three challenges (with the ensuing five day stomach ache) and he is a believer. It is what it is. No fight. Just "I could eat this cake/bread/whatever, but is it worth the five day stomach ache and bloating? Nope." Is there any room in here for being a victim? Not really. It is what it is. If it rains outside, everybody gets wet. If they have umbrellas and you don't, you get wetter. So what are the facts in your case that you have to work around?

Not sure what you mean by accepting fears... more info please....???

Plus, I am not sure what the parenting issue(s) is/are. Clarification? (I have three grown up kids with spouses too, so I can relate.)

Hang in there and keep breathing...

Don't trip

Wow. Thank you everyone for your responses. There is a LOT to ponder. Safenow, GREAT post. I hear you.

Today I went to visit my daughter (youngest of the girls, I have six kids), and my granddaughter. We have had NC for awhile because her baby daddy is abusive. My daughter has health issues at 25 that I wish she did not have, is what it is. Her cervical spine is a train wreck, like mine. She suffers a lot of pain. Ugh. It was a fun visit though and I had the BEST time with my granddaughter, whose in that fun toddler walking stage. She looks SO much like my daughter, it's weird.

My youngest son was there too. My daughter took me outside and told me he's on heroin now. I knew he was using, just not exactly what. He told me he wants to come home. I said no, not unless he goes into treatment. INPATIENT treatment (we have already done a year of outpatient and the day he graduated, he was out using again). That was very hard. . .

Meanwhile, the smear campaign with my son's bf continues. He has successfully demonized me to the point of separation between my son and I. My daughter sees right through the bf too. She's also pissed about his abuse of what started as HER dog. She brought him home to us as a puppy, but left him here with us, because he was so use to us, she didn't want to take him away from the only home he has ever known.

On my way home, I was to the breaking point inside, although calm. I call this numbing. All of this is enough to push me over the edge.

I just can't do it anymore. I told my daughter that I realize I was crapola for a mother, but I can't fix what was. Making amends doesn't mean allowing exploitation or being endlessly punished for my sins. I told her that if they were still holding anger, they needed to seek out a therapist and not me. I can't emotionally deal with it anymore. It's going to kill me if it doesn't stop. They are all adults now. I'm done paying. So I have erected boundaries with them too. They live their lives, I live mine.

I'm very tired from working on my own recovery and trying to fix everything that can't be fixed. I already stand to lose my car and then my home, which will make vocational rehab difficult. I do not do public transportatoin. i'm hoping to at least hang onto my car so I have a chance.
I don't know what voc rehab can do for me. I have a surgery coming up May 9 and will need two months to recover from. In between, I finally nailed a neurosurgeon for a consult, something I've been waiting on for nearly a year as I have symptom increase.

Safenow, I'm going to go to voc rehab anyway, completely directionless. I will be upfront with my limitations and obstacles to employment. If I had SS, this wouldn't even be an issue. Those of you who have it, even though it's not much, count your blessings.

I'm 49 years old. I haven't worked in over 20 years. With PTSD limitations and spine limitations that limit me physically, I don't know what the hell I'm going to do. I can't stand nor sit for too long. I am not allowed to bend, lift, whatever because of my lower back. I have no 'employable' skills. I cannot go back to school, basically I've burned all my bridges.

But i'm going to go anyway.. My therapist told me, "I think going is a great idea, and it will help your SS case too when they see that there isn't much to offer you, although I know that doesn't help you financially."

Nope it doesn't.

And I still have one kid left at home, finishing high school.

For someone who is very resourceful and solution focused, I really hate not knowing what to do.

I go to orientation for voc rehab next Thursday. I'll start there, along with getting my spine appt. in order.

Thank you...*Hugs*


So I have erected boundaries with them too. They live their lives, I live mine.

Well Done, Don't trip!

And good luck with the voc rehab and the docs - just because YOU don't know what will happen, doesn't mean nothing will, or that what happens will be bad.

Take care of your last kid at home. Take care of you. You could use his last stint in your house to demonstrate what having a stable, peaceful home is like, so he can go out and make one for himself some day.

Sometimes, you have to wait for the solution to come to you.
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